Climatology of Air Mass Transport to the Arctic from Locations of Controlled Burning in the United States
JENNIFER L. DEWINTER (1), Sean M. Raffuse (1), Steve G. Brown (1), Ken J. Craig (1), Paul T. Roberts (1), Narasimhan K. Larkin (2), Tara T. Strand (2)
(1) Sonoma Technology, Inc. (2) U.S. Forest Service AirFire Team
Abstract Number: 871
Preference: Poster Presentation
Last modified: August 10, 2010
Working Group: Aerosols, Clouds, and Climate
The region above the Arctic Circle is very sensitive to global warming and changes in atmospheric composition. Black Carbon (BC) aerosol from sources including diesel engines, coal-fired power plants, and biomass burning is thought to be the second greatest anthropogenic contributor to global warming trends and one of the greatest contributors to warming in the Arctic. Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are interested in potential mitigation strategies for BC, which could affect fire management and prescribed burning strategies throughout the United States, including shifting the seasonal timing of continental U.S. (CONUS) prescribed burning. However, the likelihood of transport from CONUS fires (prescribed or wildfire) needs to be adequately quantified by time of year, source area, and transport height in order to accurately inform policy decisions. Therefore, a transport analysis was conducted to ascertain the frequency and characteristics of aerosol transport from CONUS to the Arctic Circle. Back trajectories from receptors along the Arctic Circle were modeled for 30 years to capture synoptic-scale meteorological patterns and identify conditions necessary for CONUS fires to impact the Arctic. Preliminary results are presented for several spring seasons between 2005 and 2009, describing typical transport patterns: length of transport, altitude, and frequency of impact from various source regions. Seasonal patterns are also compared for several years to assess inter-seasonal variability in transport conditions and source areas.