Articles | Volume 8, issue 22
27 Nov 2008
 | 27 Nov 2008

Modeling the effect of plume-rise on the transport of carbon monoxide over Africa with NCAR CAM

H. Guan, R. B. Chatfield, S. R. Freitas, R. W. Bergstrom, and K. M. Longo

Abstract. We investigated the effects of fire-induced plume-rise on the simulation of carbon monoxide (CO) over Africa and its export during SAFARI 2000 using the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) with a CO tracer and a plume-rise parameterization scheme. The plume-rise parameterization scheme simulates the consequences of strong buoyancy of hot gases emitted from biomass burning, including both dry and cloud-associated (pyro-cumulus) lofting. The current implementation of the plume-rise parameterization scheme into the global model provides an opportunity to examine the effect of plume-rise on long-range transport. The CAM simulation with the plume-rise parameterization scheme seems to show a substantial improvement of the agreements between the modeled and aircraft-measured vertical distribution of CO over Southern Africa biomass-burning area. The plume-rise mechanism plays a crucial role in lofting biomass-burning pollutants to the middle troposphere. In the presence of deep convection we found that the plume-rise mechanism results in a decrease of CO concentration in the upper troposphere. The plume-rise depletes the boundary layer, and thus leaves lower concentrations of CO to be lofted by the deep convection process. The effect of the plume-rise on free troposphere CO concentration is more important for the source area (short-distance transport) than for remote areas (long-distance transport). A budget analysis of CO burden over Southern Africa reveals the plume-rise process to have a similar impact as the chemical production of CO by OH and CH4. In addition, the plume-rise process has an minor impact on the regional export. These results further confirm and extend previous findings in a regional model study. Effective lofting of large concentration of CO by the plume-rise mechanism also has implications for local air quality forecasting in areas affected by other fire-related pollutants.

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