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Importance of Transboundary Transport of Biomass Burning Emissions to Regional Air Quality in Southeast Asia : Volume 14, Issue 8 (07/05/2014)

By Aouizerats, B.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003996820
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 28
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Importance of Transboundary Transport of Biomass Burning Emissions to Regional Air Quality in Southeast Asia : Volume 14, Issue 8 (07/05/2014)  
Author: Aouizerats, B.
Volume: Vol. 14, Issue 8
Language: English
Subject: Science, Atmospheric, Chemistry
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Betha, R., Balasubramanian, R., Aouizerats, B., & Van Der Werf, G. R. (2014). Importance of Transboundary Transport of Biomass Burning Emissions to Regional Air Quality in Southeast Asia : Volume 14, Issue 8 (07/05/2014). Retrieved from

Description: Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Smoke from biomass and peat burning has a notable impact on ambient air quality and climate in the Southeast Asia (SEA) region. We modeled the largest fire-induced haze episode in the past decade (2006) in Indonesia using the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem). We focused mainly on the evolution of the fire plume composition and its interaction with the urbanized area of the city-state of Singapore, and on comparisons of modeled and measured aerosol and CO concentrations. Two simulations were run with the model using the complex Volatility Basis Set (VBS) scheme to reproduce primary and secondary aerosol evolution and concentration. The first simulation referred to as WRF-FIRE included anthropogenic, biogenic, and b iomass burning emissions from the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED3) while the second simulation referred to as WRF-NOFIRE was run without emissions from biomass burning. To test model performance, we used three independent datasets for comparison including airborne measurements of Particulate Matter with a diameter of 10 Μm or less (PM10) in Singapore, CO measurements in Sumatra, and Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) column observations from 4 satellite-based sensors. We found reasonable agreement of the model runs with both ground-based measurements of CO and PM10. The comparison with AOD was less favorable and indicated the model underestimated AOD, although the degree of mismatch varied between different satellite data sets. During our study period, forest and peat fires in Sumatra were the main cause of enhanced aerosol concentrations from regional transport over Singapore. Analysis of the biomass burning plume showed high concentrations of primary organic aerosols (POA) with values up to 600 Μg m−3 over the fire locations. The concentration of POA remained quite stable within the plume between the main burning region and Singapore while secondary organic aerosol (SOA) concentration slightly increased. The absolute values of SOA (up to 20 Μg m−3) were much lower than those from POA, indicating a minor role of SOA in biomass burning plumes. Our results show that about 21% of the total mass loading of ambient PM10 during the July–October study period in Singapore was due to biomass and peat burning in Sumatra, but this contribution increased during high burning periods. In total, our model results indicated that during 35 days aerosol concentrations in Singapore were above the threshold of 50 Μg m−3 day−1 indicating poor air quality. During 17 days this was due to fires, based on the difference between the simulations with and without fires. Local pollution in combination with recirculation of air masses was probably the main cause of poor air quality during the other 18 days, although fires from Sumatra and probably also from Borneo added to the enhanced PM10 concentrations. The model vs. measurement comparisons highlighted that for our study period and region the GFED3 biomass burning aerosol emissions were more in line with observations than found in other studies. This indicates that care should be taken when using AOD to constrain emissions or estimate ground-level air quality. This study also shows the need for relatively high resolution modeling to accurately reproduce the advection of air masses necessary to quantify the impacts and feedbacks on air quality.

Importance of transboundary transport of biomass burning emissions to regional air quality in Southeast Asia

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