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Volume 18, issue 8 | Copyright

Special issue: South AMerican Biomass Burning Analysis (SAMBBA)

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 5619-5638, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 24 Apr 2018

Research article | 24 Apr 2018

Near-field emission profiling of tropical forest and Cerrado fires in Brazil during SAMBBA 2012

Amy K. Hodgson1,a, William T. Morgan1, Sebastian O'Shea1, Stéphane Bauguitte2, James D. Allan1,3, Eoghan Darbyshire1, Michael J. Flynn1, Dantong Liu1, James Lee4, Ben Johnson5, Jim M. Haywood6, Karla M. Longo7,b, Paulo E. Artaxo8, and Hugh Coe1 Amy K. Hodgson et al.
  • 1School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  • 2Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK
  • 3National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  • 4Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, UK
  • 5Met Office, Exeter, UK
  • 6College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  • 7National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil
  • 8Physics Institute, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • anow at: The Weather Company, Birmingham, UK
  • bnow at: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and USRA/GESTAR, Greenbelt, MD, USA

Abstract. We profile trace gas and particulate emissions from near-field airborne measurements of discrete smoke plumes in Brazil during the 2012 biomass burning season. The South American Biomass Burning Analysis (SAMBBA) Project conducted during September and October 2012 sampled across two distinct fire regimes prevalent in the Amazon Basin. Combined measurements from a Compact Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (C-ToF-AMS) and a Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2) are reported for the first time in a tropical biomass burning environment. Emissions from a mostly smouldering tropical forest wildfire in Rondônia state and numerous smaller flaming Cerrado fires in Tocantins state are presented. While the Cerrado fires appear to be representative of typical fire conditions in the existing literature, the tropical forest wildfire likely represents a more extreme example of biomass burning with a bias towards mostly smouldering emissions. We determined fire-integrated modified combustion efficiencies, emission ratios and emission factors for trace gas and particulate components for these two fire types, alongside aerosol microphysical properties. Seven times more black carbon was emitted from the Cerrado fires per unit of fuel combustion (EFBC of 0.13±0.04 g kg−1) compared to the tropical forest fire (EFBC of 0.019±0.006g kg−1), and more than 6 times the amount of organic aerosol was emitted from the tropical forest fire per unit of fuel combustion (EFOM of 8.00±2.53g kg−1, EFOC of 5.00±1.58g kg−1) compared to the Cerrado fires (EFOM of 1.31±0.42g kg−1, EFOC of 0.82±0.26g kg−1).

Particulate-phase species emitted from the fires sampled are generally lower than those reported in previous studies and in emission inventories, which is likely a combination of differences in fire combustion efficiency and fuel mixture, along with different measurement techniques. Previous modelling studies focussed on the biomass burning season in tropical South America have required significant scaling up of emissions to reproduce in situ and satellite aerosol concentrations over the region. Our results do not indicate that emission factors used in inventories are biased low, which could be one potential cause of the reported underestimates in modelling studies. This study supplements and updates trace gas and particulate emission factors for fire-type-specific biomass burning in Brazil for use in weather and climate models. The study illustrates that initial fire conditions can result in substantial differences in terms of their emitted chemical components, which can potentially perturb the Earth system.

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We flew a large atmospheric research aircraft across a number of different biomass burning environments in the Amazon Basin in September and October 2012. In this paper, we focus on smoke sampled very close to fresh fires (only 600–900 m above the fires and smoke that was 4–6 min old) to examine the chemical components that make up the smoke and their abundance. We found substantial differences in the emitted smoke that are due to the fuel type and combustion processes driving the fires.
We flew a large atmospheric research aircraft across a number of different biomass burning...