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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. 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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  3. 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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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract. Anthropogenic secondary organic aerosol (ASOA), formed from anthropogenicemissions of organic compounds, constitutes a substantial fraction of themass of submicron aerosol in populated areas around the world andcontributes to poor air quality and premature mortality. However, theprecursor sources of ASOA are poorly understood, and there are largeuncertainties in the health benefits that might accrue from reducinganthropogenic organic emissions. We show that the production of ASOA in 11urban areas on three continents is strongly correlated with the reactivityof specific anthropogenic volatile organic compounds. The differences inASOA production across different cities can be explained by differences inthe emissions of aromatics and intermediate- and semi-volatile organiccompounds, indicating the importance of controlling these ASOA precursors.With an improved model representation of ASOA driven by the observations,we attribute 340 000 PM2.5-related premature deaths per year to ASOA, which isover an order of magnitude higher than prior studies. A sensitivity casewith a more recently proposed model for attributing mortality to PM2.5(the Global Exposure Mortality Model) results in up to 900 000 deaths. Alimitation of this study is the extrapolation from cities with detailedstudies and regions where detailed emission inventories are available toother regions where uncertainties in emissions are larger. In addition tofurther development of institutional air quality management infrastructure,comprehensive air quality campaigns in the countries in South and CentralAmerica, Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East are needed for furtherprogress in this area. 
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  5. 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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  6. Abstract

    Organic nitrates (RONO2) are an important NOxsink. In warm, rural environments dominated by biogenic emissions, nocturnal NO3‐initiated production of RONO2is competitive with daytime OH‐initiated RONO2production. However, in urban areas, OH‐initiated production of RONO2has been assumed dominant and NO3‐initiated production considered negligible. We show evidence for nighttime RONO2production similar in magnitude to daytime production during three aircraft campaigns in chemically distinct summertime environments: Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds, and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) in the rural Southeastern United States, Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment (FRAPPÉ) in the Colorado Front Range, and Korea‐United States Air Quality Study (KORUS‐AQ) around the megacity of Seoul. During each campaign, morning observations show RONO2enhancements at constant, near‐background Ox(≡ O3+NO2) concentrations, indicating that the RONO2are from a non‐photochemical source, whereas afternoon observations show a strong correlation between RONO2and Oxresulting from photochemical production. We show that there are sufficient precursors for nighttime RONO2formation during all three campaigns. This evidence impacts our understanding of nighttime NOxchemistry.

     
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  7. 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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  8. We use a 0-D photochemical box model and a 3-D global chemistry-climate model, combined with observations from the NOAA Southeast Nexus (SENEX) aircraft campaign, to understand the sources and sinks of glyoxal over the Southeast United States. Box model simulations suggest a large difference in glyoxal production among three isoprene oxidation mechanisms (AM3ST, AM3B, and MCM v3.3.1). These mechanisms are then implemented into a 3-D global chemistry-climate model. Comparison with field observations shows that the average vertical profile of glyoxal is best reproduced by AM3ST with an effective reactive uptake coefficient γglyx of 2 × 10-3, and AM3B without heterogeneous loss of glyoxal. The two mechanisms lead to 0-0.8 µg m-3 secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from glyoxal in the boundary layer of the Southeast U.S. in summer. We consider this to be the lower limit for the contribution of glyoxal to SOA, as other sources of glyoxal other than isoprene are not included in our model. In addition, we find that AM3B shows better agreement on both formaldehyde and the correlation between glyoxal and formaldehyde (RGF = [GLYX]/[HCHO]), resulting from the suppression of δ-isoprene peroxy radicals (δ-ISOPO2). We also find that MCM v3.3.1 may underestimate glyoxal production from isoprene oxidation, in part due to an underestimated yield from the reaction of IEPOX peroxy radicals (IEPOXOO) with HO2. Our work highlights that the gas-phase production of glyoxal represents a large uncertainty in quantifying its contribution to SOA. 
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  9. Abstract

    Acetone is one of the most abundant oxygenated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the atmosphere. The oceans impose a strong control on atmospheric acetone, yet the oceanic fluxes of acetone remain poorly constrained. In this work, the global budget of acetone is evaluated using two global models: CAM‐chem and GEOS‐Chem. CAM‐chem uses an online air‐sea exchange framework to calculate the bidirectional oceanic acetone fluxes, which is coupled to a data‐oriented machine‐learning approach. The machine‐learning algorithm is trained using a global suite of seawater acetone measurements. GEOS‐Chem uses a fixed surface seawater concentration of acetone to calculate the oceanic fluxes. Both model simulations are compared to airborne observations from a recent global‐scale, multiseasonal campaign, the NASA Atmospheric Tomography Mission (ATom). We find that both CAM‐chem and GEOS‐Chem capture the measured acetone vertical distributions in the remote atmosphere reasonably well. The combined observational and modeling analysis suggests that (i) the ocean strongly regulates the atmospheric budget of acetone. The tropical and subtropical oceans are mostly a net source of acetone, while the high‐latitude oceans are a net sink. (ii) CMIP6 anthropogenic emission inventory may underestimate acetone and/or its precursors in the Northern Hemisphere. (iii) The MEGAN biogenic emissions model may overestimate acetone and/or its precursors, and/or the biogenic oxidation mechanisms may overestimate the acetone yields. (iv) The models consistently overestimate acetone in the upper troposphere‐lower stratosphere over the Southern Ocean in austral winter. (v) Acetone contributes up to 30–40% of hydroxyl radical production in the tropical upper troposphere/lower stratosphere.

     
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