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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  10 Jul 2020

10 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Airborne measurements of fire Emission Factors for African biomass burning sampled during the MOYA Campaign

Patrick A. Barker1, Grant Allen1, Thomas Bannan1, Archit Mehra1, Keith N. Bower1, Joseph R. Pitt2, Stéphane J.-B. Bauguitte3, Dominika Pasternak4, Rebecca E. Fisher6, James D. Lee4, Hugh Coe1, Martin Gallagher1, Carl J. Percival5, and Euan G. Nisbet6 Patrick A. Barker et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
  • 2School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, 145 Endeavour Hall, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5000, USA
  • 3FAAM Airborne Laboratory, National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Building 146, College Road, Cranfield, MK43 0AL, UK
  • 4Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK
  • 5Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, M/S 183-901, Pasadena,California 91109, USA
  • 6Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX, UK

Abstract. Airborne sampling of methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrous oxide (N2O) mole fractions was conducted during field campaigns targeting fires over Senegal in February and March 2017, and Uganda in January 2019. The majority of fire plumes sampled were close to, or directly over burning vegetation, with the exception of two longer-range flights over the West African Atlantic seaboard, (100–300 km from source) where the continental outflow of biomass burning emissions from a wider area of West Africa was sampled. Fire Emission Factors (EFs) and modified combustion efficiencies (MCEs) were estimated from the enhancements in measured mole fractions. For the Senegalese fires, mean EFs and corresponding one-standard deviation variabilities, in units of g per kg of dry fuel were 1.8 (± 0.06) for CH4, 1633 (± 56.4) for CO2 and 679 (± 1.6) for CO, with a mean MCE of 0.94 (± 0.005). For the Ugandan fires, mean EFs (in units of g kg−1) were 3.1 (± 0.1) for CH4, 1610 (± 54.9) for CO2 and 78 (± 1.9) for CO, with a mean modified combustion efficiency of 0.93 (± 0.004). A mean N2O EF of 0.08 (± 0.002) g kg−1 is also reported for one flight over Uganda; issues with temperature control of the instrument optical bench prevented N2O EFs from being obtained for other flights over Uganda. This study has provided new datasets of African biomass burning EFs and MCEs for two distinct study regions, in which both have been studied little by aircraft measurement previously. These results highlight the important intracontinental variability of biomass burning trace gas emissions, and can be used to better constrain future biomass burning emission budgets. More generally, these results highlight the importance of regional and fuel-type variability when attempting to spatially scale biomass burning emissions. Further work to constrain EFs at more local scales and for more specific (and quantifiable) fuel types will serve to improve global estimates of biomass burning emissions of climate-relevant gases.

Patrick A. Barker et al.

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Patrick A. Barker et al.

Patrick A. Barker et al.


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Latest update: 29 Sep 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Africa is estimated to account for approximately 52 % of global biomass burning (BB) carbon emissions. Despite this, there has been little previous in situ study of African BB emissions. This work presents BB emission factors for various atmospheric trace gases sampled from an aircraft in two distinct areas of Africa (Senegal and Uganda). Intracontinental variability in biomass burning methane emission is identified, which is attributed to difference in the specific fuel mixtures burnt.
Africa is estimated to account for approximately 52 % of global biomass burning (BB) carbon...