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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-840
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Aug 2018

Research article | 21 Aug 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Speciated and total emission factors of particulate organics from burning western U.S. wildland fuels and their dependence on combustion efficiency

Coty N. Jen1,a, Lindsay E. Hatch2, Vanessa Selimovic3, Robert J. Yokelson3, Robert Weber1, Arantza E. Fernandez4, Nathan M. Kreisberg4, Kelley C. Barsanti2, and Allen H. Goldstein1,5 Coty N. Jen et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA
  • 2Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research and Technology, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA, 92507, USA
  • 3Department of Chemistry, University of Montana, Missoula, 59812, USA
  • 4Aerosol Dynamics Inc., Berkeley, CA 94710, USA
  • 5Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
  • anow at: Department of Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Abstract. Western U.S. wildlands experience frequent and large-scale wildfires which are predicted to increase in the future. As a result, wildfire smoke emissions are expected to play an increasing role in atmospheric chemistry while negatively impacting regional air quality and human health. Understanding the impacts of smoke on the environment is informed by identifying and quantifying the chemical compounds that are emitted during wildfires and by providing empirical relationships that describe how the amount and composition of the emissions change based upon different fire conditions and fuels. This study examined particulate organic compounds emitted from burning common western U.S. wildland fuels at the U.S. Forest Service Fire Science Laboratory. Thousands of intermediate and semi-volatile organic compounds (I/SVOCs) were separated and quantified into fire-integrated emission factors (EFs) using thermal desorption, two-dimensional gas chromatograph with online derivatization coupled to an electron ionization/vacuum ultra-violet high-resolution time of flight mass spectrometer (TD-GC×GC-EI/VUV-HRToFMS). Mass spectra, EFs as a function of modified combustion efficiency (MCE), fuel source, and other defining characteristics for the separated compounds are provided in the accompanying mass spectral library. Results show that EFs for total organic carbon (OC), chemical families of I/SVOCs, and most individual I/SVOCs span 2–5 orders of magnitude, with higher EFs at smoldering conditions (low MCE) than flaming. Logarithmic fits applied to the observations showed that log(EF) for particulate organic compounds were inversely proportional to MCE. These measurements and relationships provide useful estimates of EFs for OC, elemental carbon (EC), organic chemical families, and individual I/SVOCs as a function of fire conditions.

Coty N. Jen et al.
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Short summary
Wildfires in the western U.S. are occurring more frequently and burning larger land areas. Smoke from these fires will play a greater role in regional air quality and atmospheric chemistry than in the past. To help fire and climate modelers and atmospheric experimentalist better understand how smoke impacts the environment, we have separated, identified, classified, and quantified the thousands of organic compounds found in smoke and related their amounts emitted to fire conditions.
Wildfires in the western U.S. are occurring more frequently and burning larger land areas. Smoke...
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