Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-218
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-218
05 Jun 2023
 | 05 Jun 2023

Thermal infrared observations of a western United States biomass burning aerosol plume

Blake T. Sorenson, Jeffrey S. Reid, Jianglong Zhang, Robert E. Holz, William L. Smith Sr., and Amanda Gumber

Abstract. Biomass burning smoke particles, due to their sub-micron particle size in relation to the average thermal Infrared (TIR) wavelength, theoretically have negligible signals at the TIR channels. However, near-instantaneous longwave (LW) signatures of thick smoke plumes can be frequently observed at the TIR channels from remotely sensed data, including at 10.6 micron (IR window) as well as in water vapor-sensitive wavelengths at 7.3, 6.8, and 6.3 micron (e.g., lower, middle and upper troposphere). We systematically evaluated multiple hypotheses as to causal factors of these IR signatures of biomass burning smoke using a combination of Aqua MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Cloud and the Earth Radiant Energy System (CERES), Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 16/17 (GOES-16/17) Advanced Baseline Imager, and Suomi-NPP Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) and Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) data. The largely clear transmission of light through wildfire smoke in the near infrared indicates that coarse or giant ash particles are unlikely to be the dominant cause. Rather, clear signals in water vapor and TIR channels suggest both co-transported water vapor injected to the mid to upper troposphere and surface cooling by the reduction of surface radiation by the plume are more significant, with the surface cooling effect of smoke aloft being the most dominant. Giving consideration of the smoke impacts onto TIR/longwave, CERES indicates large wildfire aerosol plumes are more radiatively neutral. Further, this smoke induced TIR signal may be used to map very optically thick smoke plumes, where traditional aerosol retrieval methods have difficulties.

Blake T. Sorenson et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-218', Michael Fromm, 17 Jul 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Blake Sorenson, 28 Nov 2023
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-218', Angela Benedetti, 26 Jul 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Blake Sorenson, 28 Nov 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-218', Sophie Vandenbussche, 11 Oct 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Blake Sorenson, 28 Nov 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-218', Anonymous Referee #4, 17 Oct 2023
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC3', Blake Sorenson, 28 Nov 2023

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-218', Michael Fromm, 17 Jul 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Blake Sorenson, 28 Nov 2023
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-218', Angela Benedetti, 26 Jul 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Blake Sorenson, 28 Nov 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-218', Sophie Vandenbussche, 11 Oct 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Blake Sorenson, 28 Nov 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-218', Anonymous Referee #4, 17 Oct 2023
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC3', Blake Sorenson, 28 Nov 2023

Blake T. Sorenson et al.

Blake T. Sorenson et al.

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Short summary
Smoke particles are typically sub-micron in size and are assumed to have negligible impacts at the thermal infrared spectrum. However, we showed that infrared signatures can be observed over dense smoke plumes from satellites. We found that giant particles are unlikely to be the dominant cause. Rather, co-transported water vapor injected to the mid to upper troposphere and surface cooling beneath the plume due to shadowing are significant, with the surface cooling effect being the most dominant.