Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1485
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1485
04 Jun 2024
 | 04 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

A Multi-site Passive Approach for Studying the Emissions and Evolution of Smoke from Prescribed Fires

Rime El Asmar, Zongrun Li, David J. Tanner, Yongtao Hu, Susan O’Neill, L. Gregory Huey, M. Talat Odman, and Rodney J. Weber

Abstract. We conducted a two-year study utilizing a network of fixed sites with sampling throughout an extended prescribed burning period to characterize the emissions and evolution of smoke from silvicultural prescribed burning in the southeastern US. The measurement approach and an assessment of instrument performance is described. Smoke sources are identified, and plume ages are determined to quantify emissions and study the evolution of smoke PM2.5 mass, black carbon (BC), and brown carbon (BrC). Over the 2021 and 2022 prescribed burning seasons (nominally January to May,) we identified 64 smoke events based on high levels of PM2.5 mass, BC, BrC, and carbon monoxide (CO), of which 61 were linked to a specific burning area. Smoke transport times were estimated using the mean wind speed along with distance between fire and measurement site, and with HYSPLIT back trajectories. PM2.5 emission ratios based on ΔPM2.5 mass/ΔCO for fresh smoke (age ≤ 1 hour) ranged between 0.04 and 0.18 µg m-3 ppb-1 with a mean of 0.117 µg m-3 ppb-1 (median of 0.121 µg m-3 ppb-1). Both the mean emission ratio and variability were similar to findings from other prescribed fire studies, but lower than wildfires. Mean emission ratios of BC and BrC were 0.014 µg m-3 ppb-1 and 0.442 Mm-1 ppb-1 respectively. Ozone enhancements (ΔO3) were always observed in plumes detected in the afternoon. ΔPM2.5 mass/ΔCO was observed to increase with plume age in all ozone enhanced plumes suggesting photochemical secondary aerosol formation. In contrast, ΔBrC/ΔCO was not found to vary with plume ages less than 8 hours during photochemically active periods.

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Rime El Asmar, Zongrun Li, David J. Tanner, Yongtao Hu, Susan O’Neill, L. Gregory Huey, M. Talat Odman, and Rodney J. Weber

Status: open (until 16 Jul 2024)

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Rime El Asmar, Zongrun Li, David J. Tanner, Yongtao Hu, Susan O’Neill, L. Gregory Huey, M. Talat Odman, and Rodney J. Weber
Rime El Asmar, Zongrun Li, David J. Tanner, Yongtao Hu, Susan O’Neill, L. Gregory Huey, M. Talat Odman, and Rodney J. Weber

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Short summary
Prescribed burning is an important method for managing ecosystems and preventing wildfires, however, smoke from prescribed fires can have a significant impact on air quality. Here, using a network of fixed sites and sampling throughout an extended prescribed burning period in two different years, we characterize the emissions and evolution up to 8 hours of PM2.5 mass, BC, and BrC in smoke from burning of forested lands in the southeastern US.