1Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Sonoma, CA, USA
2NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA
3University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
4Remote Sensing Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC, USA
*currently at: Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA
Abstract. We have quantified the relationship between Aerosol Index (AI) measurements and plume height for young biomass burning plumes using coincident Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) measurements. This linear relationship allows the determination of high-altitude plumes wherever AI data are available, and it provides a data set for validating global fire plume heights in chemistry transport models. We find that all plumes detected from June 2006 to February 2009 with an AI value ≥9 are located at altitudes higher than 5 km. Older high-altitude plumes have lower AI values than young plumes at similar altitudes. We have examined available AI data from the OMI and TOMS instruments (1978–2009) and find that large AI plumes occur more frequently over North America than over Australia or Russia/Northeast Asia. According to the derived relationship, during this time interval, 181 plumes, in various stages of their evolution, reached altitudes above 8 km.