Publication Details

Lutsch, E., Strong, K., Jones, D., Blumenstock, T., Conway, S., Fisher, J., Hannigan, J., Hase, F., Kasai, Y., Mahieu, E., Makarova, M., Morino, I., Nagahama, T., Notholt, J., Ortega, I., Palm, M., Poberovskii, A., Sussmann, R. & Warneke, T. (2020). Detection and attribution of wildfire pollution in the Arctic and northern midlatitudes using a network of Fourier-Transform infrared spectrometers and GEOS-Chem. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20 (21), 12813-12851.


2020 Copernicus GmbH. All rights reserved. We present a multiyear time series of column abundances of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), and ethane (C2H6) measured using Fouriertransform infrared (FTIR) spectrometers at 10 sites affiliated with the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC). Six are high-latitude sites: Eureka, Ny-Alesund, Thule, Kiruna, Poker Flat, and St. Petersburg, and four are midlatitude sites: Zugspitze, Jungfraujoch, Toronto, and Rikubetsu. For each site, the interannual trends and seasonal variabilities of the CO time series are accounted for, allowing background column amounts to be determined. Enhancements above the seasonal background were used to identify possible wildfire pollution events. Since the abundance of each trace gas emitted in a wildfire event is specific to the type of vegetation burned and the burning phase, correlations of CO to the long-lived wildfire tracers HCN and C2H6 allow for further confirmation of the detection of wildfire pollution. A GEOS-Chem tagged CO simulation with Global Fire Assimilation System (GFASv1.2) biomass burning emissions was used to determine the source attribution of CO concentrations at each site from 2003 to 2018. For each detected wildfire pollution event, FLEXPART back-Trajectory simulations were performed to determine the transport times of the smoke plume. Accounting for the loss of each species during transport, the enhancement ratios of HCN and C2H6 with respect to CO were converted to emission ratios. We report mean emission ratios with respect to CO for HCN and C2H6 of 0.0047 and 0.0092, respectively, with a standard deviation of 0.0014 and 0.0046, respectively, determined from 23 boreal North American wildfire events. Similarly, we report mean emission ratios for HCN and C2H6 of 0.0049 and 0.0100, respectively, with a standard deviation of 0.0025 and 0.0042, respectively, determined from 39 boreal Asian wildfire events. The agreement of our emission ratios with literature values illustrates the capability of ground-based FTIR measurements to quantify biomass burning emissions. We provide a comprehensive dataset that quantifies HCN and C2H6 emission ratios from 62 wildfire pollution events. Our dataset provides novel emission ratio estimates, which are sparsely available in the published literature, particularly for boreal Asian sources.



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