Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-381
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-381

  10 May 2021

10 May 2021

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

Direct estimates of biomass burning NOx emissions and lifetime using daily observations from TROPOMI

Xiaomeng Jin1, Qindan Zhu2, and Ronald Cohen1,2 Xiaomeng Jin et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 94720, United States
  • 2Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 94720, United States

Abstract. Biomass burning emits an estimated 20 % of global annual nitrogen oxides (NOx), an important constituent that participates in the oxidative chemistry of the atmosphere. Estimates of NOx emission factors, representing the amount of NOx per mass burned, are primarily based on field or laboratory case studies, but the sporadic and transient nature of wildfires makes it challenging to verify whether these case studies represent the behaviour of the global fires occur on earth. Satellite remote sensing provides a unique view of the earth, allowing the study of emission and downwind evolution of NOx from a large number of fires. We describe direct estimates of NOx emissions and lifetime for fires using an exponentially modified Gaussian analysis of daily TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) retrievals of NO2 tropospheric columns. We correct the low bias of satellite retrieved NO2 columns over fire plumes by replacing the a priori profile of NO2 with a fine-resolution (0.25°) global model simulation from NASA’s GEOS Composition Forecasting System (GEOS-CF). We derive representative NOx emission factors for six fuel types globally by linking TROPOMI derived NOx emissions with observations of fire radiative power from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Satellite-derived NOx emission factors are largely consistent with those derived from in-situ measurements. We observe decreasing NOx lifetime with fire intensity, which we infer is due to the increase in both NOx abundance and hydroxyl radical production. Our findings suggest promise for applying space-based observations to track the emissions and chemical evolution of reactive nitrogen from wildfires.

Xiaomeng Jin et al.

Status: open (until 05 Jul 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-381', Julieta Juncosa, 09 Jun 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-381', Anonymous Referee #2, 11 Jun 2021 reply
  • RC3: 'Comment on acp-2021-381', Anonymous Referee #3, 13 Jun 2021 reply

Xiaomeng Jin et al.

Xiaomeng Jin et al.

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Short summary
We describe direct estimates of NOx emissions and lifetime for biomass burning plumes using TROPOMI daily retrievals of NO2. Satellite derived NOx emission factors are consistent with those from in-situ measurements. We observe decreasing NOx lifetime with fire intensity, which is due to the increase in NOx abundance and radical production. Our findings suggest promise for applying space-based observations to track the emissions and chemical evolution of reactive nitrogen from wildfires.
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