understanding the effects of wildfires on air quality
(a) The distribution of ΔO3/ΔCO ratio along the longitude within the wildfire plume and (b) the estimated longitudinal CO plume age distribution based on the NAST-I measurements. Credit: Daniel K. Zhou et al, Journal of Applied Remote Sensing (2022). DOI: 10.1117/1.JRS.16.034522

Wildfires, characterized by unplanned, uncontrolled, and unpredictable fires erupting in areas such as forests, grasslands, and prairies, have recently grown in frequency and intensity. Likely resulting from climate change effects, wildfires are increasingly impacting ecosystems and human lives. While wildfires are considered ecologically beneficial, there have been rising concerns over the negative effects, namely degradation of air quality from the smoke and pollutants released.

In particular, carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3) are major contributors to wildfire-induced air pollution. However, unlike CO, O3 is not directly generated during wildfires. Instead, it is produced from O3 precursors emitted during wildfires and depends on several factors for its production. This, in turn, complicates the O3 production process. Moreover, its presence within wildfire plumes determines the wildfire plume age. Assessing its concentrations is therefore necessary to better understand how wildfires affect the air quality, weather, and climate.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, scientists at NASA Langley Research Center, in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reported their findings on this front in the Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX-AQ) field campaigns in 2019. The measurements of atmospheric CO and O3 levels were performed across the continental U.S. using a remote sensor called “National Airborne Sounder Testbed-Interferometer” (NAST-I), which provided both high spatial and spectral resolution.

“The NAST-I, onboard NASA ER-2 aircraft, covers a space large enough to monitor the wildfire plume from its origination, evolution and transport, and provides 3D distributions of the O3 and CO concentrations at a higher spatial resolution compared to that of satellite infrared-ultraspectral sensors,” said Dr. Daniel K. Zhou, the principal investigator of NAST-I and the lead author of the study.

Based on these measurements, the team estimated the plume age by observing the differential concentration ratios of O3 and CO, i.e., ΔO3/ΔCO and performing a linear fit with previous observations of wildfire ΔO3/ΔCO ratios. “Our results showed enhanced levels of CO in the evolving plume as it was transported away from the site of the fire. The plume age was associated with the plume distance in both vertical and horizontal directions,” Zhou said.

Overall, this study provides important insights that could prove crucial to a deeper understanding of the effects of wildfires on the atmosphere and the steps needed to mitigate them. More information: Daniel K. Zhou et al, Estimation of fire-induced CO plume age from NAST–I during the FIREX-AQ field campaign, Journal of Applied Remote Sensing (2022). DOI: 10.1117/1.JRS.16.034522 Provided by SPIE Citation: Understanding the effects of wildfires on air quality (2022, September 7) retrieved 7 September 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-effects-wildfires-air-quality.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Murderous 1600s pirate hid out in US colonies with impunity

Metal detectorist Denise Schoener, of Hanson, Mass., searches for historic coins and artifacts in a farm field in Little Compton, R.I., Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022. One coin at a time, the ground is yielding new evidence that in the late 1600s, Henry Every, one of the world’s most ruthless ...

View more: Murderous 1600s pirate hid out in US colonies with impunity

Ramesh 'Sunny' Balwani gets prison time for Theranos fraud

Former Theranos executive Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani is to begin serving a 13-year prison sentence early next year after jurors found him guilty of fraud at the failed blood-testing startup. A judge on Thursday sentenced a top aide and ex-boyfriend of fallen Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to prison for duping ...

View more: Ramesh 'Sunny' Balwani gets prison time for Theranos fraud

Surveillance, hacking: whistleblower recalls Wirecard nightmare

When short seller Matthew Earl anonymously co-authored a report detailing explosive allegations of wrongdoing at German fintech champion Wirecard, his life was turned upside down. Germany’s mammoth Wirecard fraud trial opens on December 7, 2022, with the ex-CEO and two former executives in the dock over their roles in ...

View more: Surveillance, hacking: whistleblower recalls Wirecard nightmare

Americans' spending found to decline consistently after age 65

Estimated Spending Trajectories for Single Households. Credit: (2022). DOI: 10.7249/RRA2355-1 Americans’ personal spending drops consistently after age 65, both among the affluent and those with lower levels of financial resources, according to a new RAND Corporation report. Analyzing information from a long-running study of older Americans, researchers Michael Hurd ...

View more: Americans' spending found to decline consistently after age 65

Innovate Cambridge gets Arm and Microsoft support to boost tech ecosystem

An initiative looking to promote innovation in the Cambridge tech ecosystem has received over 100 charter signatures from the likes of Arm, Microsoft and AstraZeneca. Innovate Cambridge was launched in September by Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge Innovation Capital and the University of Cambridge to promote the city on the global ...

View more: Innovate Cambridge gets Arm and Microsoft support to boost tech ecosystem

Taiwan joins US states in restricting TikTok as China’s hit video app faces renewed scrutiny

Taiwan, the self-ruled island that China regards as a renegade province, has taken action to restrict the use of TikTok and other Chinese apps in tandem with similar moves by some state authorities in the US. TikTok, its Chinese version Douyin and lifestyle and social platform Xiaohongshu have been ...

View more: Taiwan joins US states in restricting TikTok as China’s hit video app faces renewed scrutiny

Apple Launches New Data Encryption for iCloud Security

Apple now features new end-to-end encryption for iCloud data, which includes backups, photos, and notes, among others. Advanced Data Protection will make sure that personal data will be secured at all times, even if a threat actor breaches the cloud. How Does it Work? An extra layer of security ...

View more: Apple Launches New Data Encryption for iCloud Security

Deep-space discovery: Oddball gamma-ray burst forces revision of theoretical framework

Artist rendering. Credit: Anyu Lei and Jing Chen, Nanjing University School of Arts The mysteries of the cosmos continue to amaze astronomers, and with each new observation comes a chance to deepen—or upend—our understanding of the universe. In the Dec. 7 issue of the journal Nature, an international team ...

View more: Deep-space discovery: Oddball gamma-ray burst forces revision of theoretical framework

Deep, 5.8 magnitude quake shakes Indonesia's capital

Hawaii road in limbo as Mauna Loa lava continues to crawl

WinZO first gaming app to feature on mSeva platform

Realme 10 Pro series launched in India with 108 MP triple-camera setup, 120Hz display

Xiaomi 13 Flagship Phones Set to Launch This Sunday

Vietnamese EV maker VinFast receives ESG rating from Sustainalytics

Apple Kills Controversial CSAM iCloud Photo Scanning Feature

Shein launches paid members-only discount club, raises prices as costs climb

AI-generated anime selfies propel beauty app to top in Japan

Amazon sued in US for 'stealing' delivery driver tips

Save 10% on Peak Design’s Phone Cases, Tripods, and More

Microsoft adds Communities to Teams

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News