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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Frequent and widespread wildfires in North Western United States and Canada has become the new normal during the northern hemisphere summer months, which degrades particulate matter air quality in the United States significantly. Using satellite data we show that smoke aerosols caused significant pollution changes over half of the United States. We estimate that nearly 29 states have increased PM2.5 during the fire active year when compared to fire inactive years.
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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1152
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1152

  09 Dec 2020

09 Dec 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Satellite-based Estimation of the Impacts of Summertime Wildfires on Particulate Matter Air Quality in United States

Zhixin Xue1, Pawan Gupta2,3, and Sundar Christopher1 Zhixin Xue et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric and Earth Science, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, 35806 AL, USA
  • 2STI, Universities Space Research Association (USRA), Huntsville, 35806 AL, USA
  • 3NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, 35806, USA

Abstract. Frequent and widespread wildfires in North Western United States and Canada has become the new normal during the northern hemisphere summer months, which degrades particulate matter air quality in the United States significantly. Using the mid-visible Multi Angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC) satellite-derived Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) with meteorological information from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and other ancillary data, we quantify the impact of these fires on fine particulate matter air quality (PM2.5) in the United States. We use a Geographically Weighted Regression method to estimate surface PM2.5 in the United States between low (2011) and high (2018) fire activity years. Our results indicate that smoke aerosols caused significant pollution changes over half of the United States. We estimate that nearly 29 states have increased PM2.5 during the fire active year and 15 of these states have PM2.5 concentrations more than 2 times than that of the inactive year. Furthermore, these fires increased daily mean surface PM2.5 concentrations in Washington and Oregon by 38 to 259 µgm−3 posing significant health risks especially to vulnerable populations. Our results also show that the GWR model can be successfully applied to PM2.5 estimations from wildfires thereby providing useful information for various applications including public health assessment.

Zhixin Xue et al.

 
Status: open (until 03 Feb 2021)
Status: open (until 03 Feb 2021)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Zhixin Xue et al.

Zhixin Xue et al.

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Short summary
Frequent and widespread wildfires in North Western United States and Canada has become the new normal during the northern hemisphere summer months, which degrades particulate matter air quality in the United States significantly. Using satellite data we show that smoke aerosols caused significant pollution changes over half of the United States. We estimate that nearly 29 states have increased PM2.5 during the fire active year when compared to fire inactive years.
Citation
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