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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 7, 2024
  2. 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
  3. Abstract. Glyoxal (CHOCHO), the simplest dicarbonyl in thetroposphere, is a potential precursor for secondary organic aerosol (SOA)and brown carbon (BrC) affecting air quality and climate. The airbornemeasurement of CHOCHO concentrations during the KORUS-AQ (KORea–US AirQuality study) campaign in 2016 enables detailed quantification of lossmechanisms pertaining to SOA formation in the real atmosphere. Theproduction of this molecule was mainly from oxidation of aromatics (59 %)initiated by hydroxyl radical (OH). CHOCHO loss to aerosol was found to bethe most important removal path (69 %) and contributed to roughly∼ 20 % (3.7 µg sm−3 ppmv−1 h−1,normalized with excess CO) of SOA growth in the first 6 h in SeoulMetropolitan Area. A reactive uptake coefficient (γ) of∼ 0.008 best represents the loss of CHOCHO by surface uptakeduring the campaign. To our knowledge, we show the first field observationof aerosol surface-area-dependent (Asurf) CHOCHO uptake, which divergesfrom the simple surface uptake assumption as Asurf increases in ambientcondition. Specifically, under the low (high) aerosol loading, the CHOCHOeffective uptake rate coefficient, keff,uptake, linearly increases(levels off) with Asurf; thus, the irreversible surface uptake is areasonable (unreasonable) approximation for simulating CHOCHO loss toaerosol. Dependence on photochemical impact and changes in the chemical andphysical aerosol properties “free water”, as well as aerosol viscosity,are discussed as other possible factors influencing CHOCHO uptake rate. Ourinferred Henry's law coefficient of CHOCHO, 7.0×108 M atm−1, is ∼ 2 orders of magnitude higher than thoseestimated from salting-in effects constrained by inorganic salts onlyconsistent with laboratory findings that show similar high partitioning intowater-soluble organics, which urges more understanding on CHOCHO solubilityunder real atmospheric conditions. 
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  4. Abstract. Fires emit sufficient sulfur to affect local and regional airquality and climate. This study analyzes SO2 emission factors andvariability in smoke plumes from US wildfires and agricultural fires, as well as theirrelationship to sulfate and hydroxymethanesulfonate (HMS) formation.Observed SO2 emission factors for various fuel types show goodagreement with the latest reviews of biomass burning emission factors,producing an emission factor range of 0.47–1.2 g SO2 kg−1 C.These emission factors vary with geographic location in a way that suggeststhat deposition of coal burning emissions and application ofsulfur-containing fertilizers likely play a role in the larger observedvalues, which are primarily associated with agricultural burning. A 0-D boxmodel generally reproduces the observed trends of SO2 and total sulfate(inorganic + organic) in aging wildfire plumes. In many cases, modeled HMSis consistent with the observed organosulfur concentrations. However, acomparison of observed organosulfur and modeled HMS suggests that multipleorganosulfur compounds are likely responsible for the observations but thatthe chemistry of these compounds yields similar production and loss rates asthat of HMS, resulting in good agreement with the modeled results. Weprovide suggestions for constraining the organosulfur compounds observedduring these flights, and we show that the chemistry of HMS can alloworganosulfur to act as an S(IV) reservoir under conditions of pH > 6 and liquid water content>10−7 g sm−3. This canfacilitate long-range transport of sulfur emissions, resulting in increasedSO2 and eventually sulfate in transported smoke. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Oceans emit large quantities of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) to the marine atmosphere. The oxidation of DMS leads to the formation and growth of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) with consequent effects on Earth’s radiation balance and climate. The quantitative assessment of the impact of DMS emissions on CCN concentrations necessitates a detailed description of the oxidation of DMS in the presence of existing aerosol particles and clouds. In the unpolluted marine atmosphere, DMS is efficiently oxidized to hydroperoxymethyl thioformate (HPMTF), a stable intermediate in the chemical trajectory toward sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) and ultimately sulfate aerosol. Using direct airborne flux measurements, we demonstrate that the irreversible loss of HPMTF to clouds in the marine boundary layer determines the HPMTF lifetime ( τ HPMTF < 2 h) and terminates DMS oxidation to SO 2 . When accounting for HPMTF cloud loss in a global chemical transport model, we show that SO 2 production from DMS is reduced by 35% globally and near-surface (0 to 3 km) SO 2 concentrations over the ocean are lowered by 24%. This large, previously unconsidered loss process for volatile sulfur accelerates the timescale for the conversion of DMS to sulfate while limiting new particle formation in the marine atmosphere and changing the dynamics of aerosol growth. This loss process potentially reduces the spatial scale over which DMS emissions contribute to aerosol production and growth and weakens the link between DMS emission and marine CCN production with subsequent implications for cloud formation, radiative forcing, and climate. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Abstract. Formaldehyde (HCHO) has been measured from space for morethan 2 decades. Owing to its short atmospheric lifetime, satellite HCHOdata are used widely as a proxy of volatile organic compounds (VOCs; pleaserefer to Appendix A for abbreviations and acronyms), providing constraintson underlying emissions and chemistry. However, satellite HCHO products fromdifferent satellite sensors using different algorithms have received littlevalidation so far. The accuracy and consistency of HCHO retrievals remainlargely unclear. Here we develop a validation platform for satellite HCHOretrievals using in situ observations from 12 aircraft campaigns with a chemicaltransport model (GEOS-Chem) as the intercomparison method. Application tothe NASA operational OMI HCHO product indicates negative biases (−44.5 %to −21.7 %) under high-HCHO conditions, while it indicates high biases (+66.1 % to+112.1 %) under low-HCHO conditions. Under both conditions, HCHO a priorivertical profiles are likely not the main driver of the biases. By providingquick assessment of systematic biases in satellite products over largedomains, the platform facilitates, in an iterative process, optimization ofretrieval settings and the minimization of retrieval biases. It is alsocomplementary to localized validation efforts based on ground observationsand aircraft spirals. 
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  7. Abstract

    Agricultural and prescribed burning activities emit large amounts of trace gases and aerosols on regional to global scales. We present a compilation of emission factors (EFs) and emission ratios from the eastern portion of the Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX‐AQ) campaign in 2019 in the United States, which sampled burning of crop residues and other prescribed fire fuels. FIREX‐AQ provided comprehensive chemical characterization of 53 crop residue and 22 prescribed fires. Crop residues burned at different modified combustion efficiencies (MCE), with corn residue burning at higher MCE than other fuel types. Prescribed fires burned at lower MCE (<0.90) which is typical, while grasslands burned at lower MCE (0.90) than normally observed due to moist, green, growing season fuels. Most non‐methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) were significantly anticorrelated with MCE except for ethanol and NMVOCs that were measured with less certainty. We identified 23 species where crop residue fires differed by more than 50% from prescribed fires at the same MCE. Crop residue EFs were greater for species related to agricultural chemical use and fuel composition as well as oxygenated NMVOCs possibly due to the presence of metals such as potassium. Prescribed EFs were greater for monoterpenes (5×). FIREX‐AQ crop residue average EFs generally agreed with the previous agricultural fire study in the US but had large disagreements with global compilations. FIREX‐AQ observations show the importance of regionally‐specific and fuel‐specific EFs as first steps to reduce uncertainty in modeling the air quality impacts of fire emissions.

     
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  8. Abstract

    Carbon monoxide (CO) is an ozone precursor, oxidant sink, and widely used pollution tracer. The importance of anthropogenic versus other CO sources in the US is uncertain. Here, we interpret extensive airborne measurements with an atmospheric model to constrain US fossil and nonfossil CO sources. Measurements reveal a low bias in the simulated CO background and a 30% overestimate of US fossil CO emissions in the 2016 National Emissions Inventory. After optimization we apply the model for source partitioning. During summer, regional fossil sources account for just 9%–16% of the sampled boundary layer CO, and 32%–38% of the North American enhancement—complicating use of CO as a fossil fuel tracer. The remainder predominantly reflects biogenic hydrocarbon oxidation plus fires. Fossil sources account for less domain‐wide spatial variability at this time than nonfossil and background contributions. The regional fossil contribution rises in other seasons, and drives ambient variability downwind of urban areas.

     
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