Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 9201-9219, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-9201-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
26 Jul 2016
The importance of plume rise on the concentrations and atmospheric impacts of biomass burning aerosol
Carolin Walter1, Saulo R. Freitas2,a, Christoph Kottmeier1, Isabel Kraut1, Daniel Rieger1, Heike Vogel1, and Bernhard Vogel1 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe, Germany
2CPTEC Center for Weather Forecasts and Climate Studies, National Institute for Space Research, Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil
anow at: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center & USRA/GESTAR, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
Abstract. We quantified the effects of the plume rise of biomass burning aerosol and gases for the forest fires that occurred in Saskatchewan, Canada, in July 2010. For this purpose, simulations with different assumptions regarding the plume rise and the vertical distribution of the emissions were conducted. Based on comparisons with observations, applying a one-dimensional plume rise model to predict the injection layer in combination with a parametrization of the vertical distribution of the emissions outperforms approaches in which the plume heights are initially predefined. Approximately 30 % of the fires exceed the height of 2 km with a maximum height of 8.6 km. Using this plume rise model, comparisons with satellite images in the visible spectral range show a very good agreement between the simulated and observed spatial distributions of the biomass burning plume. The simulated aerosol optical depth (AOD) with data of an AERONET station is in good agreement with respect to the absolute values and the timing of the maximum. Comparison of the vertical distribution of the biomass burning aerosol with CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) retrievals also showed the best agreement when the plume rise model was applied. We found that downwelling surface short-wave radiation below the forest fire plume is reduced by up to 50 % and that the 2 m temperature is decreased by up to 6 K. In addition, we simulated a strong change in atmospheric stability within the biomass burning plume.

Citation: Walter, C., Freitas, S. R., Kottmeier, C., Kraut, I., Rieger, D., Vogel, H., and Vogel, B.: The importance of plume rise on the concentrations and atmospheric impacts of biomass burning aerosol, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 9201-9219, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-9201-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
Buoyancy produced by vegetation fires can lead to substantial plume rise with consequences for the dispersion of aerosol emitted by the fires. To study this effect a 1-D plume rise model was included into the regional online integrated model system COSMO-ART. Comparing model results and satellite data for a case study of 2010 Canadian wildfires shows, that the plume rise model outperforms prescribed emission height. The radiative impact of the aerosol leads to a pronounced temperature change.
Buoyancy produced by vegetation fires can lead to substantial plume rise with consequences for...
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