Science Inventory

Investigating the air quality impacts of wildfires: Examples from Indonesia and the U.S.

Citation:

Koplitz, S. Investigating the air quality impacts of wildfires: Examples from Indonesia and the U.S. University of Washington Seminar, Seattle, WA, April 06, 2018.

Impact/Purpose:

Seminar to the University of Washington Department of Atmospheric Sciences Colloquium which will be attended by faculty and grad students at the UW.

Description:

Fires are a major source of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), one of the most harmful ambient pollutants for human health globally. Within the U.S., fire emissions can account for more than 30% of total PM2.5 emissions annually. In order to represent the influence of fire emissions on atmospheric composition, regional and global chemical transport models (CTMs) rely on fire emission inventories developed from estimates of burned area (i.e. fire size and location). Burned area can be estimated using a range of top-down and bottom-up approaches, including satellite-derived remote sensing and on-the-ground incident reports. While burned area estimates agree with each other reasonably well in the western U.S. (within 20-30% for most years during 2002-2014), estimates for the southern U.S. vary by more than a factor of 3. Differences in burned area estimation methods lead to significant variability in the spatial and temporal allocation of emissions across fire emission inventory platforms. In this work, we implement fire emission estimates for 2011 from three different fire emission products - the USEPA National Emission Inventory (NEI), the Fire INventory of NCAR (FINN), and the Global Fire Emission Database (GFED4s) - into the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model to quantify and characterize differences in simulated fire-related PM2.5 and ozone concentrations across the contiguous U.S. due solely to the emission inventory used. Preliminary results indicate that national annual average PM2.5 concentrations for 2011 are highest using GFED4s emissions (0.63 µg m-3) followed by NEI (0.44 µg m-3) and FINN (0.20 µg m-3), with comparisons varying significantly by region and season. Understanding the sensitivity of modeling fire-related PM2.5 and ozone in the U.S. to fire emission inventory choice will inform future efforts to assess the implications of present and future fire activity for air quality and human health at national and global scales.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/SLIDE)
Product Published Date: 04/06/2018
Record Last Revised: 04/16/2018
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 340401

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY

SYSTEMS EXPOSURE DIVISION