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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-1096
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
30 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Impacts of air pollutants from fire and non-fire emissions on the regional air quality in Southeast Asia
Hsiang-He Lee1, Oussama Iraqui2, Yefu Gu3, Hung-Lam Steve Yim3, Apisada Chulakadabba4, Adam Y. M. Tonks5, Zhengyu Yang6, and Chien Wang1,7 1Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, Singapore
2Energy and Environmental Engineering Department, National Institute of Applied Science of Lyon (INSA Lyon), France
3Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
4Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
5Division of Science, Yale-NUS College, Singapore
6Department of Mathematics, National University of Singapore, Singapore
7Center for Global Change Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
Abstract. Severe haze events in Southeast Asia caused by particulate pollution have become more intense and frequent in recent years, degrading air quality, threatening human health, and interrupting economic and societal activities. Widespread biomass burning activities are a major source of severe haze events in Southeast Asia. On the other hand, particulate pollutants from human activities other than biomass burning also play an important role in degrading air quality in Southeast Asia. In this study, numerical simulations have been conducted using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model coupled with a chemistry component (WRF-Chem) to quantitatively examine the contributions of aerosols emitted from fire (i.e., biomass burning) versus non-fire (including fossil fuel combustion, road and industrial dust, land use, and land change, etc.) sources to the degradation of air quality and visibility over Southeast Asia. These simulations cover a time period from 2002 to 2008 and were respectively driven by emissions from: (a) fossil fuel burning only, (b) biomass burning only, and (c) both fossil fuel and biomass burning. Across ASEAN 50 cities, these model results reveal that 39 % of observed low visibility days can be explained by either fossil fuel burning or biomass burning emissions alone, a further 20 % by fossil fuel burning alone, a further 8 % by biomass burning alone, and a further 5 % by a combination of fossil fuel burning and biomass burning. The remaining 28 % of observed low visibility days remain unexplained, likely due to emissions sources that have not been accounted for. Further analysis of 24-hr PM2.5 Air Quality Index (AQI) indicates that comparing to the simulated result of the case with stand-alone non-fire emissions, the case with coexisting fire and non-fire PM2.5 can substantially increase the chance of AQI being in the moderate or unhealthy pollution level from 23 % to 34 %. The premature mortality among major Southeast Asian cities due to degradation of air quality by particulate pollutants is estimated to increase from ~ 4110 per year in 2002 to ~ 6540 per year in 2008. In addition, we demonstrate the importance of certain missing non-fire anthropogenic aerosol sources including anthropogenic fugitive and industrial dusts in causing urban air quality degradation. An exploratory experiment of using machine learning algorithms to forecasting the occurrence of haze events in Singapore is also demonstrated in this study. All these results suggest that besides minimizing biomass burning activities, an effective air pollution mitigation policy for Southeast Asia needs to consider controlling emissions from non-fire anthropogenic sources.

Citation: Lee, H.-H., Iraqui, O., Gu, Y., Yim, H.-L. S., Chulakadabba, A., Tonks, A. Y. M., Yang, Z., and Wang, C.: Impacts of air pollutants from fire and non-fire emissions on the regional air quality in Southeast Asia, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-1096, in review, 2017.
Hsiang-He Lee et al.
Hsiang-He Lee et al.
Hsiang-He Lee et al.

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Our study shows that Across ASEAN 50 cities, these model results reveal that 39 % of observed low visibility days can be explained by either fossil fuel burning or biomass burning emissions alone, a further 20 % by fossil fuel burning alone, a further 8 % by biomass burning alone, and a further 5 % by a combination of fossil fuel burning and biomass burning. The remaining 28 % of observed low visibility days remain unexplained, likely due to emissions sources that have not been accounted for.
Our study shows that Across ASEAN 50 cities, these model results reveal that 39 % of observed...
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