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  1. Abstract. Extensive airborne measurements of non-methane organic gases (NMOGs), methane, nitrogen oxides, reduced nitrogen species, and aerosol emissions from US wild and prescribed fires were conducted during the 2019 NOAA/NASA Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality campaign (FIREX-AQ). Here, we report the atmospheric enhancement ratios (ERs) and inferred emission factors (EFs) for compounds measured on board the NASA DC-8 research aircraft for nine wildfires and one prescribed fire, which encompass a range of vegetation types. We use photochemical proxies to identify young smoke and reduce the effects of chemical degradation on our emissions calculations. ERs and EFs calculated from FIREX-AQ observations agree within a factor of 2, with values reported from previous laboratory and field studies for more than 80 % of the carbon- and nitrogen-containing species. Wildfire emissions are parameterized based on correlations of the sum of NMOGs with reactive nitrogen oxides (NOy) to modified combustion efficiency (MCE) as well as other chemical signatures indicative of flaming/smoldering combustion, including carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and black carbon aerosol. The sum of primary NMOG EFs correlates to MCE with an R2 of 0.68 and a slope of −296 ± 51 g kg−1, consistent with previous studies. The sum of the NMOG mixing ratios correlates well with CO with an R2 of 0.98 and a slope of 137 ± 4 ppbv of NMOGs per parts per million by volume (ppmv) of CO, demonstrating that primary NMOG emissions can be estimated from CO. Individual nitrogen-containing species correlate better with NO2, NOy, and black carbon than with CO. More than half of the NOy in fresh plumes is NO2 with an R2 of 0.95 and a ratio of NO2 to NOy of 0.55 ± 0.05 ppbv ppbv−1, highlighting that fast photochemistry had already occurred in the sampled fire plumes. The ratio of NOy to the sum of NMOGs follows trends observed in laboratory experiments and increases exponentially with MCE, due to increased emission of key nitrogen species and reduced emission of NMOGs at higher MCE during flaming combustion. These parameterizations will provide more accurate boundary conditions for modeling and satellite studies of fire plume chemistry and evolution to predict the downwind formation of secondary pollutants, including ozone and secondary organic aerosol.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  2. Abstract

    The NOAA/NASA Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX‐AQ) experiment was a multi‐agency, inter‐disciplinary research effort to: (a) obtain detailed measurements of trace gas and aerosol emissions from wildfires and prescribed fires using aircraft, satellites and ground‐based instruments, (b) make extensive suborbital remote sensing measurements of fire dynamics, (c) assess local, regional, and global modeling of fires, and (d) strengthen connections to observables on the ground such as fuels and fuel consumption and satellite products such as burned area and fire radiative power. From Boise, ID western wildfires were studied with the NASA DC‐8 and two NOAA Twin Otter aircraft. The high‐altitude NASA ER‐2 was deployed from Palmdale, CA to observe some of these fires in conjunction with satellite overpasses and the other aircraft. Further research was conducted on three mobile laboratories and ground sites, and 17 different modeling forecast and analyses products for fire, fuels and air quality and climate implications. From Salina, KS the DC‐8 investigated 87 smaller fires in the Southeast with remote and in‐situ data collection. Sampling by all platforms was designed to measure emissions of trace gases and aerosols with multiple transects to capture the chemical transformation of these emissions and perform remote sensing observations of fire and smoke plumes under day and night conditions. The emissions were linked to fuels consumed and fire radiative power using orbital and suborbital remote sensing observations collected during overflights of the fires and smoke plumes and ground sampling of fuels.

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    Abstract Wintertime episodes of high aerosol concentrations occur frequently in urban and agricultural basins and valleys worldwide. These episodes often arise following development of persistent cold-air pools (PCAPs) that limit mixing and modify chemistry. While field campaigns targeting either basin meteorology or wintertime pollution chemistry have been conducted, coupling between interconnected chemical and meteorological processes remains an insufficiently studied research area. Gaps in understanding the coupled chemical-meteorological interactions that drive high pollution events make identification of the most effective air-basin specific emission control strategies challenging. To address this, a September 2019 workshop occurred with the goal of planning a future research campaign to investigate air quality in Western U.S. basins. Approximately 120 people participated, representing 50 institutions and 5 countries. Workshop participants outlined the rationale and design for a comprehensive wintertime study that would couple atmospheric chemistry and boundary-layer and complex-terrain meteorology within western U.S. basins. Participants concluded the study should focus on two regions with contrasting aerosol chemistry: three populated valleys within Utah (Salt Lake, Utah, and Cache Valleys) and the San Joaquin Valley in California. This paper describes the scientific rationale for a campaign that will acquire chemical and meteorological datasets using airborne platforms with extensive range, coupled to surface-based measurements focusing on sampling within the near-surface boundary layer, and transport and mixing processes within this layer, with high vertical resolution at a number of representative sites. No prior wintertime basin-focused campaign has provided the breadth of observations necessary to characterize the meteorological-chemical linkages outlined here, nor to validate complex processes within coupled atmosphere-chemistry models. 
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  5. Abstract. Chamber oxidation experiments conducted at the Fire Sciences Laboratory in 2016 are evaluated to identify important chemical processes contributing to the hydroxy radical (OH) chemistry of biomass burning non-methane organic gases (NMOGs). Based on the decay of primary carbon measured by proton transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS), it is confirmed that furans and oxygenated aromatics are among the NMOGs emitted from western United States fuel types with the highest reactivities towards OH. The oxidation processes and formation of secondary NMOG masses measured by PTR-ToF-MS and iodide-clustering time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometry (I-CIMS) is interpreted using a box model employing a modified version of the Master Chemical Mechanism (v. 3.3.1) that includes the OH oxidation of furan, 2-methylfuran, 2,5-dimethylfuran, furfural, 5-methylfurfural, and guaiacol. The model supports the assignment of major PTR-ToF-MS and I-CIMS signals to a series of anhydrides and hydroxy furanones formed primarily through furan chemistry. This mechanism is applied to a Lagrangian box model used previously to model a real biomass burning plume. The customized mechanism reproduces the decay of furans and oxygenated aromatics and the formation of secondary NMOGs, such as maleic anhydride. Based on model simulations conducted with and without furans, it is estimated that furans contributed up to 10 % of ozone and over 90 % of maleic anhydride formed within the first 4 h of oxidation. It is shown that maleic anhydride is present in a biomass burning plume transported over several days, which demonstrates the utility of anhydrides as markers for aged biomass burning plumes. 
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