Articles | Volume 17, issue 22
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 13681–13697, 2017
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 13681–13697, 2017

Research article 17 Nov 2017

Research article | 17 Nov 2017

Biomass burning emissions in north Australia during the early dry season: an overview of the 2014 SAFIRED campaign

Marc D. Mallet1, Maximilien J. Desservettaz2, Branka Miljevic1, Andelija Milic1, Zoran D. Ristovski1, Joel Alroe1, Luke T. Cravigan1, E. Rohan Jayaratne1, Clare Paton-Walsh2, David W. T. Griffith2, Stephen R. Wilson2, Graham Kettlewell2, Marcel V. van der Schoot3, Paul Selleck3, Fabienne Reisen3, Sarah J. Lawson3, Jason Ward3, James Harnwell3, Min Cheng3, Rob W. Gillett3, Suzie B. Molloy3, Dean Howard4, Peter F. Nelson4, Anthony L. Morrison4, Grant C. Edwards4, Alastair G. Williams5, Scott D. Chambers5, Sylvester Werczynski5, Leah R. Williams6, V. Holly L. Winton7,a, Brad Atkinson8, Xianyu Wang9, and Melita D. Keywood3 Marc D. Mallet et al.
  • 1School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, 4000, Australia
  • 2Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, 2522, Australia
  • 3CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Aspendale, Victoria, 3195, Australia
  • 4Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, 2109, Australia
  • 5Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Sydney, New South Wales, 2232, Australia
  • 6Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts, 01821, USA
  • 7Physics and Astronomy, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, 6102, Australia
  • 8Bureau of Meteorology, Darwin, Northern Territory, 0810, Australia
  • 9Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences, The University of Queensland, Queensland, 4108, Australia
  • anow at: the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, CB3 0ET, UK

Abstract. The SAFIRED (Savannah Fires in the Early Dry Season) campaign took place from 29 May until 30 June 2014 at the Australian Tropical Atmospheric Research Station (ATARS) in the Northern Territory, Australia. The purpose of this campaign was to investigate emissions from fires in the early dry season in northern Australia. Measurements were made of biomass burning aerosols, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic carbons, greenhouse gases, radon, speciated atmospheric mercury and trace metals. Aspects of the biomass burning aerosol emissions investigated included; emission factors of various species, physical and chemical aerosol properties, aerosol aging, micronutrient supply to the ocean, nucleation, and aerosol water uptake. Over the course of the month-long campaign, biomass burning signals were prevalent and emissions from several large single burning events were observed at ATARS.

Biomass burning emissions dominated the gas and aerosol concentrations in this region. Dry season fires are extremely frequent and widespread across the northern region of Australia, which suggests that the measured aerosol and gaseous emissions at ATARS are likely representative of signals across the entire region of north Australia. Air mass forward trajectories show that these biomass burning emissions are carried north-west over the Timor Sea and could influence the atmosphere over Indonesia and the tropical atmosphere over the Indian Ocean. Here we present characteristics of the biomass burning observed at the sampling site and provide an overview of the more specific outcomes of the SAFIRED campaign.

Short summary
Fires play an important role within atmosphere. Gaseous and aerosol emissions influence Earth's temperature but these emissions can vary drastically across region and season. The SAFIRED (Savannah Fires in the Early Dry Season) campaign was undertaken at the Australian Tropical Research Station in north Australia during the 2014 early dry season. This paper presents an overview of the fires in this region, the measurements of their emissions and the implications of these fires on the atmosphere.
Final-revised paper