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Title: Wildfire Smoke Observations in the Western United States from the Airborne Wyoming Cloud Lidar during the BB-FLUX Project. Part II: Vertical Structure and Plume Injection Height

The western U.S. wildfire smoke plumes observed by the upward-pointing Wyoming Cloud Lidar (WCL) during the Biomass Burning Fluxes of Trace Gases and Aerosols (BB-FLUX) project are investigated in a two-part paper. Part II here presents the reconstructed vertical structures of seven plumes from airborne WCL measurements. The vertical structures evident in the fire plume cross sections, supported by in situ measurements, showed that the fire plumes had distinct macrophysical and microphysical properties, which are closely related to the plume transport, fire emission intensity, and thermodynamic structure in the boundary layer. All plumes had an injection layer between 2.8 and 4.0 km above mean sea level, which is generally below the identified boundary layer top height. Plumes that transported upward out of the boundary layer, such as the Rabbit Foot and Pole Creek fires, formed a higher plume at around 5.5 km. The largest and highest Pole Creek fire plume was transported farthest and was sampled by University of Wyoming King Air aircraft at 170 km, or 2.3 h, downwind. It was associated with the warmest, driest, deepest boundary layer and the highest wind speed and turbulence. The Watson Creek fire plume intensified in the afternoon with stronger CO more » emission and larger smoke plume height than in the morning, indicating a fire diurnal cycle, but some fire plumes did not intensify in the afternoon. There were pockets of relatively large irregular aerosol particles at the tops of plumes from active fires. In less-active fire plumes, the WCL depolarization ratio and passive cavity aerosol spectrometer probe mass mean diameter maximized at a height that was low in the plume.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 559-572
American Meteorological Society
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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