Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 10, 977-1004, 2010
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/10/977/2010/
doi:10.5194/acpd-10-977-2010
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under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Estimated total emissions of trace gases from the Canberra wildfires of 2003: a new method using satellite measurements of aerosol optical depth and the MOZART chemical transport model
C. Paton-Walsh1, L. K. Emmons2, and S. R. Wilson1
1School of Chemistry, University of Wollongong, Australia
2National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. In this paper we describe a new method for estimating trace gas emissions from large vegetation fires using measurements of aerosol optical depth from the MODIS instruments onboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites, combined with the atmospheric chemical transport model MOZART. The model allows for an estimate of double counting of enhanced levels of aerosol optical depth in consecutive satellite overpasses. Using this method we infer an estimated total emission of 10±3 Tg of carbon monoxide from the Canberra fires of 2003. Emissions estimates for several other trace gases are also given. An assessment of the uncertainties in the new method is made and we show that our estimate agrees (within expected uncertainties) with estimates made using current conventional methods of multiplying together factors for the area burned, fuel load, the combustion efficiency and the emission factor for carbon monoxide. The new method for estimating emissions from large vegetation fires described in this paper has some significant uncertainties, but these are mainly quantifiable and largely independent of the uncertainties inherent in conventional techniques. Thus we conclude that the new method is a useful additional tool for characterising emissions from vegetation fires.

Citation: Paton-Walsh, C., Emmons, L. K., and Wilson, S. R.: Estimated total emissions of trace gases from the Canberra wildfires of 2003: a new method using satellite measurements of aerosol optical depth and the MOZART chemical transport model, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 10, 977-1004, doi:10.5194/acpd-10-977-2010, 2010.
 
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