Long-term observations of black carbon and carbon monoxide in the Poker Flat Research Range, central Alaska, with a focus on forest wildfire emissions
Abstract. Forest wildfires in interior Alaska represent an important black carbon (BC) source for the Arctic and sub-Arctic. However, BC observations in interior Alaska have not been sufficient to constrain the range of existing emissions. Here, we show our observations of BC mass concentrations and carbon monoxide (CO) mixing ratios in the Poker Flat Research Range (65.12° N, 147.43° W), located in central Alaska, since April 2016. The medians of the hourly BC mass concentration and CO mixing ratio throughout the observation period were 13 ng m-3 and 124.7 ppb, respectively. Significant peaks in the BC mass concentration and CO mixing ratio were observed at the same time, indicating influences from common sources. These BC peaks coincided with peaks at other comparative sites in Alaska, indicating large BC emissions in interior Alaska. Source estimation by FLEXPART-WRF confirmed a contribution of forest wildfires in Alaska when high BC mass concentrations were observed. For these cases, we found a positive correlation (r = 0.44) between the observed BC/∆CO ratio and fire radiative power (FRP) observed in Alaska and Canada. This finding indicates that the BC and CO emission ratio is controlled by the intensity and time progress of forest wildfires and suggests the BC emission factor or/and inventory could be potentially improved by FRP. We recommend that FRP be integrated into future bottom-up emission inventories to achieve a better understanding of the dynamics of pollutants from frequently occurred forest wildfires under the rapidly changing climate in the Arctic.
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