Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2022-713
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2022-713
 
16 Aug 2022
16 Aug 2022

Impacts of estimated plume rise on PM2.5 exceedance prediction during extreme wildfire events: A comparison of three schemes (Briggs, Freitas, and Sofiev)

Yunyao Li1,2, Daniel Tong1,2,3, Siqi Ma1,2, Saulo R. Freitas4, Ravan Ahmadov5,6, Mikhail Sofiev7, Xiaoyang Zhang8, Shobha Kondragunta9, Ralph Kahn10, Youhua Tang2,3, Barry Baker3, Patrick Campbell3, Rick Saylor3, Georg Grell11, and Fangjun Li8 Yunyao Li et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA22030, USA
  • 2Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
  • 3Air Resources Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, MD 20740, USA
  • 4Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies, National Institute for Space Research, São José dos Campos, 12227, Brazil
  • 5Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
  • 6Global Systems Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
  • 7Atmospheric Composition Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, 00101, Finland
  • 8Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence, Department of Geography & Geospatial Sciences, South Dakota State University, Brookings, 57007, USA
  • 9Satellite Meteorology and Climatology Division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, MD 20740, USA
  • 10National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, 20771, USA
  • 11Global Systems Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO 80305, USA

Abstract. Plume height plays a vital role in wildfire smoke dispersion and the subsequent effects on air quality and human health. In this study, we assess the impact of different plume rise schemes on predicting the dispersion of wildfire air pollution, and the exceedances of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) during the 2020 Western United States Wildfire season. Three widely used plume rise schemes (Briggs 1969, Freitas 2007, Sofiev 2012) are compared within the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) modelling framework. The plume heights simulated by these schemes are comparable to the aerosol height observed by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR). The performance of the simulations with these schemes varies by fire case and weather conditions. On average, simulations with higher plume injection heights predict lower AOD and surface PM2.5 concentrations near the source region but higher AOD and PM2.5 in downwind regions due to the faster spread of the smoke plume once ejected. The two-month mean AOD difference caused by different plume rise schemes is approximately 20–30 % near the source regions and 5–10 % in the downwind regions. Thick smoke blocks sunlight and suppresses photochemical reactions in areas with high AOD. The surface PM2.5 difference reaches 70 % on the west coast and the difference is lower than 15 % in the downwind regions. Moreover, the plume injection height affects pollution exceedance (>35 μg/m3) forecasts. Higher plume heights generally produce larger downwind PM2.5 exceedance areas. The PM2.5 exceedance areas predicted by the three schemes largely overlap, suggesting that all schemes perform similarly during large wildfire events when the predicted concentrations are well above the exceedance threshold. At the edges of the smoke plumes, however, there are noticeable differences in the PM2.5 concentration and predicted PM2.5 exceedance region. This disagreement among the PM2.5 exceedance forecasts may affect key decision-making regarding early warning of extreme air pollution episodes at local levels during large wildfire events.

Yunyao Li et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-713', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 Sep 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-713', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 Sep 2022
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-713', Anonymous Referee #3, 18 Sep 2022

Yunyao Li et al.

Yunyao Li et al.

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Short summary
Plume height is important in wildfire smoke dispersion and the effects on air quality and human health. We assess the impact of plume height on wildfire smoke dispersion and the exceedances of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. A higher plume height predicts lower pollution near the source region but higher pollution in downwind regions due to the faster spread of the smoke once ejected, which affects pollution exceedance forecasts and early warning of extreme air pollution events.