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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 29 Apr 2019

Research article | 29 Apr 2019

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

Revised estimate of particulate emissions from Indonesian peat fires in 2015

Laura Kiely1, Dominick V. Spracklen1, Christine Wiedinmyer2, Luke Conibear1, Carly L. Reddington1, Scott Archer-Nicholls3, Douglas Lowe4, Stephen R. Arnold1, Christoph Knote5, Md Firoz Khan6, Mohd Talib Latif7, Mikinori Kuwata8,9,10, Sri Hapsari Budisulistiorini8, and Lailan Syaufina11 Laura Kiely et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • 2CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 4University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  • 5Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany
  • 6Department of Chemistry, University of Malaya, Malaysia
  • 7School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
  • 8Earth Observatory of Singapore and Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore
  • 9Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) Program, Singapore
  • 10Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
  • 11Faculty of Forestry, Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), Bogor, Indonesia

Abstract. Indonesia contains large areas of peatland which are being drained and cleared of natural vegetation, making them susceptible to burning. Peat fires emit considerable amounts of carbon dioxide, particulate matter (PM) and other trace gases, contributing to climate change and causing regional air pollution. However emissions from peat fires are uncertain due to uncertainties in emission factors and burn depth of peat. We used the Weather Research and Forecasting model with chemistry, and measurements of PM concentrations to constrain PM emissions from Indonesian fires during 2015, one of the largest fire seasons in recent decades. We estimate PM2.5 (particles with diameters less than 2.5 μm) emissions from fires across Sumatra and Borneo during September to October 2015 were 7.33 Tg, a factor 3.5 greater than those in Fire Inventory from NCAR (FINNv1.5), which does not include peat burning. We estimate similar dry fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to those in the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED4s), but a factor 1.8 greater PM2.5 emissions, due to updated PM2.5 emission factors for Indonesian peat. Through comparing simulated and measured PM concentrations, our work provides an independent confirmation of these updated emission factors. We estimate peat burning contributes 71 % of total PM2.5 emissions from fire in Indonesia during September–October 2015. We show that using satellite-retrieved soil moisture to modify the assumed depth of peat burn improves the simulation of PM, increasing the correlation between simulated and observed PM from 0.48 to 0.56. Overall, our work suggests that peat fires in Indonesia produce substantially greater PM emissions than estimated in current emission datasets, with implications for the predicted air quality impacts of peat burning.

Laura Kiely et al.
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Short summary
In 2015 a large fire episode occurred in Indonesia, reducing air quality. Fires occurred predominantly on peatland, where large uncertainties are associated with emissions. Current fire emissions datasets underestimates peat fire emissions. We created new fire emissions data, with data specific for Indonesian peat fires. Using these emissions in simulations of particulate matter and aerosol optical depth, shows an improvement over simulations using current data, when compared with observation.
In 2015 a large fire episode occurred in Indonesia, reducing air quality. Fires occurred...