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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 12
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 5839-5851, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-11-5839-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 5839-5851, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-11-5839-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 22 Jun 2011

Research article | 22 Jun 2011

Characterization of wildfire NOx emissions using MODIS fire radiative power and OMI tropospheric NO2 columns

A. K. Mebust1, A. R. Russell1, R. C. Hudman1, L. C. Valin1, and R. C. Cohen1,2 A. K. Mebust et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA
  • 2Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA

Abstract. We use observations of fire radiative power (FRP) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer~(MODIS) and tropospheric NO2 column measurements from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) to derive NO2 wildfire emission coefficients (g MJ−1) for three land types over California and Nevada. Retrieved emission coefficients were 0.279±0.077, 0.342±0.053, and 0.696±0.088 g MJ−1 NO2 for forest, grass and shrub fuels, respectively. These emission coefficients reproduce ratios of emissions with fuel type reported previously using independent methods. However, the magnitude of these coefficients is lower than prior estimates. While it is possible that a negative bias in the OMI NO2 retrieval over regions of active fire emissions is partly responsible, comparison with several other studies of fire emissions using satellite platforms indicates that current emission factors may overestimate the contributions of flaming combustion and underestimate the contributions of smoldering combustion to total fire emissions. Our results indicate that satellite data can provide an extensive characterization of the variability in fire NOx emissions; 67 % of the variability in emissions in this region can be accounted for using an FRP-based parameterization.

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