How do Biomass Burning Carbon Monixide Emissions from South America influence Satellite Observed Columns over Africa?

Thursday, 17 December 2015: 11:35
3001 (Moscone West)
Maarten C Krol, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands, Thijs T. van Leeuwen, Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, Netherlands, Benjamin Aouizerats, Free University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands and Guido van der Werf, Organization Not Listed, Washington, DC, United States
Large amounts of Carbon Monoxide (CO) are emitted during biomass burning events. These emissions severely perturb the atmospheric composition. For this reason, satellite observations of CO can help to constrain emissions from biomass burning. Other sources of CO, such as the production of CO from naturally emitted non-methane hydrocarbons, may interfere with CO from biomass burning and inverse modeling efforts to estimate biomass burning emissions have to account for these CO sources.

The atmospheric lifetime of CO varies from weeks to months, depending on the availability of atmospheric OH for atmospheric oxidation of CO to carbon dioxide. This means that CO can be transported over relatively long distances. It also implies that satellite-observed CO does not necessarily originate from the underlying continent, but may be caused by distant emissions transported to the observation location.

In this presentation we focus on biomass burning emissions from South America and Southern Africa during 2010. This year was particularly dry over South America with a large positive anomaly in biomass burning in the 2010 burning season (July-October). We will adress the question how CO plumes from South America biomass burning influence satellite observations from the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) instrument over Southern Africa. For this we employ the TM5 atmospheric chemistry model, with 1x1 degree zoom resolutions over Africa and South America. Also, we use the TM5-4DVAR code to estimate CO biomass burning emissions using IASI CO observations.

The accompanying image shows IASI CO oberservations over Africa on August 27, 2010, compared to the columns simulated with TM5. Clear signs of intercontinental transport from South America are visible over the Southermost region.