Impact of wildfires on particulate matter in the Euro-Mediterranean in 2007: Sensitivity to some parameterizations of emissions in air quality models

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Abstract

<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> This study examines the uncertainties on air quality modeling associated with the integration of wildfire emissions in chemistry-transport models (CTMs). To do so, aerosol concentrations during the summer 2007, which was marked by severe fire episodes in the Euro-Mediterranean region especially in Balkan (20&amp;ndash;31 July 2007, 24&amp;ndash;30 August 2007) and Greece (24&amp;ndash;30 August 2007), are analysed. Through comparisons to observations from surface networks and satellite remote sensing, we evaluate the abilities of two CTMs, Polyphemus/Polair3D and CHIMERE, to simulate the impact of fires on the regional particulate matter (PM) concentrations and optical properties. During the two main fire events, fire emissions may contribute up to 90<span class="thinspace"></span>% of surface PM<sub>2.5</sub> concentrations, with a significant regional impact associated with long-range transport. Good general performances of the models and a clear improvement of PM<sub>2.5</sub> and aerosol optical depth (AOD) are shown when fires are taken into account in the models with high correlation coefficients. <br><br> Two sources of uncertainties are specifically analysed in terms of surface PM concentrations and AOD using sensitivity simulations: secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from intermediate and semi-volatile organic compounds (I/S-VOCs) and emissions' injection heights. The analysis highlights that surface PM<sub>2.5</sub> concentrations are highly sensitive to injection heights (with a sensitivity that can be as high as 50<span class="thinspace"></span>% compared to the sensitivity for I/S-VOCs emissions which is lower than 30<span class="thinspace"></span>%). However, AOD which is vertically integrated is less sensitive to the injection heights (mostly below 20<span class="thinspace"></span>%), but highly sensitive to I/S-VOCs emissions (with sensitivity that can be as high as 40<span class="thinspace"></span>%). The maximum dispersion, which quantifies uncertainties related to fire emissions modeling, is up to 75<span class="thinspace"></span>% for PM<sub>2.5</sub> in Balkan and Greece, and varies between 36 and 45<span class="thinspace"></span>% for AOD above fire regions. <br><br> The simulated number of daily exceedance of World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for PM<sub>2.5</sub> over the considered region reaches 30 days in regions affected by fires and ∼<span class="thinspace"></span>10 days in fire plumes which is slightly underestimated compared to available observations. The maximum dispersion (<i>σ</i>) on this indicator is also large (with σ reaching 15 days), showing the need for better understanding of the transport and evolution of fire plumes in addition to fire emissions.</p>

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Majdi, M., Turquety, S., Sartelet, K., Legorgeu, C., Menut, L., & Kim, Y. (2019). Impact of wildfires on particulate matter in the Euro-Mediterranean in 2007: Sensitivity to some parameterizations of emissions in air quality models. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 19(2), 785–812. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-19-785-2019

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