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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
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Research article
10 Nov 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Biomass burning emissions in north Australia during the early dry season: an overview of the 2014 SAFIRED campaign
Marc D. Mallet1, Maximilien J. Desservettaz2, Branka Miljevic1, Andelija Milic1, Zoran D. Ristovski1, Joel Alroe1, Luke T. Cravigan1, E. Rohan Jayaratne1, Clare Paton-Walsh2, David W. T. Griffith2, Stephen R. Wilson2, Graham Kettlewell2, Marcel V. van der Schoot3, Paul Selleck3, Fabienne Reisen3, Sarah J. Lawson3, Jason Ward3, James Harnwell3, Min Cheng3, Rob W. Gillett3, Suzie B. Molloy3, Dean Howard4, Peter F. Nelson4, Anthony L. Morrison4, Grant C. Edwards4, Alastair G. Williams5, Scott D. Chambers5, Sylvester Werczynski5, Leah R. Williams6, Holly L. Winton7,a, Brad Atkinson8, Xianyu Wang9, and Melita D. Keywood3 1Department of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Brisbane, 4000, Australia
2Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, 2522, Australia
3CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Aspendale, Victoria, 3195, Australia
4Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, 2109, Australia
5Australian Nuclei Science and Technology Organisation, Sydney, New South Wales, 2232, Australia
6Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts, 01821, USA
7Physics and Astronomy, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, 6102, Australia
8Bureau of Meteorology, Darwin, Northern Territory, 0810, Australia
9National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology, Brisbane, Queensland, 4108, Australia
anow at: British Antarctic Survey, National Environmental Research Council, Cambridge, CB30HT, UK
Abstract. The SAFIRED (Savannah Fires in the Early Dry Season) campaign took place from 29th of May, 2014 until the 30th June, 2014 at the Australian Tropical Atmospheric Research Station (ATARS) in the Northern Territory, Australia. The purpose of this campaign was to investigate emissions from fires in the early dry season in northern Australia. Measurements were made of biomass burning aerosols, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic carbons, greenhouse gases, radon, mercury cycle, and trace metals. Aspects of the biomass burning aerosol emissions investigated included; emission factors of various emitted species, physical and chemical aerosol properties, aerosol aging, micronutrient supply to the ocean, nucleation, and aerosol water uptake. Over the course of the month-long campaign, biomass burning signals were prevalent and emissions from several large single burning events were observed at ATARS.

Biomass burning emissions dominated the gas and aerosol concentrations in this region. Nine major biomass burning events were identified and associated with intense or close individual smoke plumes. Dry season fires are extremely frequent and widespread across the northern region of Australia, which suggests that the measured aerosol and gaseous emissions at ATARS are likely representative of signals across the entire region of north Australia. Air mass forward trajectories show that these biomass burning emissions are carried north west over the Timor Sea and could influence the atmosphere over Indonesia and the tropical atmosphere over the Indian Ocean.

The outcomes of this campaign will be numerous. This region is an environment with little human impact and provides a unique look into the characteristics of biomass burning aerosol without the influence of other significant emission sources. Relationships between the aerosol physical and chemical properties, gas concentrations and meteorological data for the entire month will provide fundamental knowledge required to understand the influence of early dry season burning in this tropical region on the atmosphere. In this paper we present characteristics of the biomass burning observed at the sampling site and provide an overview of the more specific outcomes of the SAFIRED campaign.

Citation: Mallet, M. D., Desservettaz, M. J., Miljevic, B., Milic, A., Ristovski, Z. D., Alroe, J., Cravigan, L. T., Jayaratne, E. R., Paton-Walsh, C., Griffith, D. W. T., Wilson, S. R., Kettlewell, G., van der Schoot, M. V., Selleck, P., Reisen, F., Lawson, S. J., Ward, J., Harnwell, J., Cheng, M., Gillett, R. W., Molloy, S. B., Howard, D., Nelson, P. F., Morrison, A. L., Edwards, G. C., Williams, A. G., Chambers, S. D., Werczynski, S., Williams, L. R., Winton, H. L., Atkinson, B., Wang, X., and Keywood, M. D.: Biomass burning emissions in north Australia during the early dry season: an overview of the 2014 SAFIRED campaign, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/acp-2016-866, in review, 2016.
Marc D. Mallet et al.
Marc D. Mallet et al.
Marc D. Mallet et al.


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Short summary
Fires play an important role within atmosphere. Gaseous and aerosol emissions influence earth's temperature but these emissions can vary drastically across region and season. The SAFIRED (Savannah Fires in the Early Dry Season) campaign was undertaken at the Australian Tropical Research Station in north Australia during the 2014 early dry season. This paper presents an overview of the fires in this region, the measurements of their emissions and the impications of these fires on the atmosphere.
Fires play an important role within atmosphere. Gaseous and aerosol emissions influence earth's...