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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. Fires emit a substantial amount of non-methane organic gases (NMOGs), theatmospheric oxidation of which can contribute to ozone and secondaryparticulate matter formation. However, the abundance and reactivity of thesefire NMOGs are uncertain and historically not well constrained. In thiswork, we expand the representation of fire NMOGs in a global chemicaltransport model, GEOS-Chem. We update emission factors to Andreae (2019) andthe chemical mechanism to include recent aromatic and ethene and ethyne modelimprovements(Bateset al., 2021; Kwon et al., 2021). We expand the representation of NMOGs byadding lumped furans to the model (including their fire emission andoxidation chemistry) and by adding fire emissions of nine species alreadyincluded in the model, prioritized for their reactivity using data from the Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments (FIREX) laboratory studies. Based on quantified emissions factors, we estimatethat our improved representation captures 72 % of emitted, identified NMOGcarbon mass and 49 % of OH reactivity from savanna and temperate forestfires, a substantial increase from the standard model (49 % of mass,28 % of OH reactivity). We evaluate fire NMOGs in our model withobservations from the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) in Brazil, Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX-AQ) and DC3 in the US, and Arctic Research of the Composition of theTroposphere from Aircraft and Satellites (ARCTAS) in boreal Canada. We show that NMOGs,including furan, are well simulated in the eastern US with someunderestimates in the western US and that adding fire emissions improves ourability to simulate ethene in boreal Canada. We estimate that fires provide15 % of annual mean simulated surface OH reactivity globally, as well as morethan 75 % over fire source regions. Over continental regions about half ofthis simulated fire reactivity comes from NMOG species. We find that furansand ethene are important globally for reactivity, while phenol is moreimportant at a local level in the boreal regions. This is the first globalestimate of the impact of fire on atmospheric reactivity. 
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  3. Abstract. The evolution of organic aerosol (OA) and aerosol sizedistributions within smoke plumes is uncertain due to the variability inrates of coagulation and OA condensation/evaporation between different smokeplumes and at different locations within a single plume. We use aircraftdata from the FIREX-AQ campaign to evaluate differences in evolving aerosolsize distributions, OA, and oxygen to carbon ratios (O:C) between and withinsmoke plumes during the first several hours of aging as a function of smokeconcentration. The observations show that the median particle diameterincreases faster in smoke of a higher initial OA concentration (>1000 µg m−3), with diameter growth of over 100 nm in 8 h – despite generally having a net decrease in OA enhancementratios – than smoke of a lower initial OA concentration (<100 µg m−3), which had net increases in OA. Observations of OA and O:Csuggest that evaporation and/or secondary OA formation was greater in lessconcentrated smoke prior to the first measurement (5–57 min afteremission). We simulate the size changes due to coagulation and dilution andadjust for OA condensation/evaporation based on the observed changes in OA.We found that coagulation explains the majority of the diameter growth, withOA evaporation/condensation having a relatively minor impact. We found thatmixing between the core and edges of the plume generally occurred ontimescales of hours, slow enough to maintain differences in aging betweencore and edge but too fast to ignore the role of mixing for most of our cases. 
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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. Abstract. Smoke from wildfires is a significant source of air pollution, which can adversely impact air quality and ecosystems downwind. With the recently increasing intensity and severity of wildfires, the threat to air quality is expected to increase. Satellite-derived biomass burning emissions can fill in gaps in the absence of aircraft or ground-based measurement campaigns and can help improve the online calculation of biomass burning emissions as well as the biomass burning emissions inventories that feed air quality models. This study focuses on satellite-derived NOx emissions using the high-spatial-resolution TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) NO2 dataset. Advancements and improvements to the satellite-based determination of forest fire NOx emissions are discussed, including information on plume height and effects of aerosol scattering and absorption on the satellite-retrieved vertical column densities. Two common top-down emission estimation methods, (1) an exponentially modified Gaussian (EMG) and (2) a flux method, are applied to synthetic data to determine the accuracy and the sensitivity to different parameters, including wind fields, satellite sampling, noise, lifetime, and plume spread. These tests show that emissions can be accurately estimated from single TROPOMI overpasses.The effect of smoke aerosols on TROPOMI NO2 columns (via air mass factors, AMFs) is estimated, and these satellite columns and emission estimates are compared to aircraft observations from four different aircraft campaigns measuring biomass burning plumes in 2018 and 2019 in North America. Our results indicate that applying an explicit aerosol correction to the TROPOMI NO2 columns improves the agreement with the aircraft observations (by about 10 %–25 %). The aircraft- and satellite-derived emissions are in good agreement within the uncertainties. Both top-down emissions methods work well; however, the EMG method seems to output more consistent results and has better agreement with the aircraft-derived emissions. Assuming a Gaussian plume shape for various biomass burning plumes, we estimate an average NOx e-folding time of 2 ±1 h from TROPOMI observations. Based on chemistry transport model simulations and aircraft observations, the net emissions of NOx are 1.3 to 1.5 times greater than the satellite-derived NO2 emissions. A correction factor of 1.3 to 1.5 should thus be used to infer net NOx emissions from the satellite retrievals of NO2. 
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  6. 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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  7. Dimethyl sulfide (DMS), emitted from the oceans, is the most abundant biological source of sulfur to the marine atmosphere. Atmospheric DMS is oxidized to condensable products that form secondary aerosols that affect Earth’s radiative balance by scattering solar radiation and serving as cloud condensation nuclei. We report the atmospheric discovery of a previously unquantified DMS oxidation product, hydroperoxymethyl thioformate (HPMTF, HOOCH 2 SCHO), identified through global-scale airborne observations that demonstrate it to be a major reservoir of marine sulfur. Observationally constrained model results show that more than 30% of oceanic DMS emitted to the atmosphere forms HPMTF. Coincident particle measurements suggest a strong link between HPMTF concentration and new particle formation and growth. Analyses of these observations show that HPMTF chemistry must be included in atmospheric models to improve representation of key linkages between the biogeochemistry of the ocean, marine aerosol formation and growth, and their combined effects on climate. 
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  8. 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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  9. Abstract

    We analyze the effects of the diurnal cycle of fire emissions (DCFE) and plume rise on U.S. air quality using the MUSICAv0 (Multi‐Scale Infrastructure for Chemistry and Aerosols Version 0) model during the FIREX‐AQ (Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality) and WE‐CAN (Western wildfire Experiment for Cloud chemistry, Aerosol absorption and Nitrogen) field campaigns. To include DCFE in the model, we employ two approaches: a DCFE climatology and DCFE derived from a satellite fire radiative power product. We also implemented two sets of plume‐rise climatologies, and two plume‐rise parameterizations. We evaluate the model performance with airborne measurements, U.S. EPA Air Quality System surface measurements, and satellite products. Overall, including plume rise improves model agreement with observations such as aircraft observations of CO and NOxfor FIREX‐AQ and WE‐CAN. Applying DCFE also improves model performance, such as for surface PM2.5in fire‐impacted regions. The impact of plume rise is larger than the impact of DCFE. Plume rise can greatly enhance modeled long‐range transport of fire‐emitted pollutants. The simulations with plume‐rise parameterizations generally perform better than the simulations with plume‐rise climatologies during FIREX‐AQ, but not for WE‐CAN. The 2019 Williams Flats Fire case study demonstrates that DCFE and plume rise change fire impacts because fire emissions are subject to different meteorology and chemistry when emitted at different times of a day and altitudes. Moreover, DCFE and plume rise also impact local‐to‐regional meteorology and chemical reaction rates. DCFE and plume rise will be included in future MUSICA versions.

     
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  10. Abstract

    A new configuration of the Community Earth System Model (CESM)/Community Atmosphere Model with full chemistry (CAM‐chem) supporting the capability of horizontal mesh refinement through the use of the spectral element (SE) dynamical core is developed and called CESM/CAM‐chem‐SE. Horizontal mesh refinement in CESM/CAM‐chem‐SE is unique and novel in that pollutants such as ozone are accurately represented at human exposure relevant scales while also directly including global feedbacks. CESM/CAM‐chem‐SE with mesh refinement down to ∼14 km over the conterminous US (CONUS) is the beginning of the Multi‐Scale Infrastructure for Chemistry and Aerosols (MUSICAv0). Here, MUSICAv0 is evaluated and used to better understand how horizontal resolution and chemical complexity impact ozone and ozone precursors over CONUS as compared to measurements from five aircraft campaigns, which occurred in 2013. This field campaign analysis demonstrates the importance of using finer horizontal resolution to accurately simulate ozone precursors such as nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. In general, the impact of using more complex chemistry on ozone and other oxidation products is more pronounced when using finer horizontal resolution where a larger number of chemical regimes are resolved. Large model biases for ozone near the surface remain in the Southeast US as compared to the aircraft observations even with updated chemistry and finer horizontal resolution. This suggests a need for adding the capability of replacing sections of global emission inventories with regional inventories, increasing the vertical resolution in the planetary boundary layer, and reducing model biases in meteorological variables such as temperature and clouds.

     
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