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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-245
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
06 Jun 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Connecting smoke plumes to sources using Hazard Mapping System (HMS) smoke and fire location data over North America
Steven J. Brey1, Mark Ruminski2, Samuel A. Atwood1, and Emily V. Fischer1 1Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins , 80523, USA
2NOAA/NESDIS Satellite Analysis Branch, College Park, 20740, USA
Abstract. Fires represent an air quality challenge because they are large, dynamic and transient sources of particulate matter and ozone precursors. Transported smoke can deteriorate air quality over large regions. Fire severity and frequency are likely to increase in the future, exacerbating an existing problem. Using the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) Hazard Mapping System (HMS) smoke data for North America for the period 2007 to 2014, we examine a subset of fires that are confirmed to have produced sufficient smoke to warrant the initiation of a U.S. National Weather Service smoke forecast. We find that gridded HMS analyzed fires are well correlated (r = 0.84) with emissions from the Global Fire Emissions Inventory Database 4s (GFED4s). We define a new metric, smoke hours, by linking observed smoke plumes to active fires using ensembles of forward trajectories. This work shows that the Southwest, Northwest, and Northwest Territories trigger the most air quality forecasts, and produce more smoke than any other North American region by measure of the number of HYSPIT points analyzed, the duration of those HYSPLIT points, and the total number of smoke hours produced. The average number of days with smoke plumes overhead is largest over the north-central U.S. Only Alaska, the Northwest, the Southwest, and Southeast U.S. regions produce the majority of smoke plumes observed over their own borders. This work moves a new dataset from a daily operational setting to a research context, and it demonstrates how changes to the frequency or intensity of fires in the western U.S. could impact other regions.

Citation: Brey, S. J., Ruminski, M., Atwood, S. A., and Fischer, E. V.: Connecting smoke plumes to sources using Hazard Mapping System (HMS) smoke and fire location data over North America, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-245, in review, 2017.
Steven J. Brey et al.
Steven J. Brey et al.
Steven J. Brey et al.

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Short summary
This paper presents the first regional summertime smoke transport climatology for North America using observed smoke plume and fire location data. We show that these data are well correlated with existing biomass burning emission inventories. We present the abundance of smoke over different regions of North America and estimate, where the smoke comes from, the age of smoke, and how often the smoke influences ground level air quality.
This paper presents the first regional summertime smoke transport climatology for North America...
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