CALIOP-derived Smoke Plume Injection Height
Abstract:Biomass burning is a dominant natural and anthropogenic disturbance that feeds back to the climate system. Fire regimes, ecosystem fuels, fire severity and intensity vary widely, even within the same system, largely under the control of weather and climate. These strongly influence fire plume injection height and thus the transport of related biomass burning emissions, affecting air quality, human health and the climate system.
If our knowledge of plume injection height is incorrect, transport models of those emissions will likewise be incorrect, adversely affecting our ability to analyze and predict climate feedbacks (i.e. black carbon to the Arctic, precipitation, cloud-radiation relationships) and public health (air quality forecast).
Historically, plume height was based on the pioneering work of G.A. Briggs [1969; 1971] and verified with limited field campaigns. However, we currently have two satellite instruments, Cloud-Aerosol LIdar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) onboard CALIPSO (afternoon overpass) and Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) onboard TERRA (morning overpass), that can provide the statistics necessary to verify our assumptions and improve fire plume injection height estimates for use in both small- and large-scale models.
We have developed a methodology to assess fire plume injection height using the Langley Trajectory Model (LaTM), CALIOP, Hazard Mapping System (HMS) smoke plume, and MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) thermal anomaly data that is capable of generating two distinct types of verification data. A single CALIOP smoke-filled aerosol envelop can be traced back to numerous fire events, and using multiple CALIOP transects from numerous days, a daily smoke plume injection height evolution from a single fire can be defined. Additionally, we have linked the smoke plumes to ecosystems and the meteorological variables that define fire weather.
In concert, CALIOP and MISR data can produce the statistical knowledge necessary to improve our understanding of the dynamics of fire plume injection height, thus improving our ability to forecast poor air quality and to accurately define smoke feedbacks to climate change.