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Emission Ratios of the Tropospheric Ozone Precursors Nitrogen Dioxide and Formaldehyde from Australia’s Black Saturday Fires

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Author(s): Emma Young | Clare Paton-Walsh

Journal: Atmosphere
ISSN 2073-4433

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 617;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: fires | emissions | biomass burning | formaldehyde | nitrogen dioxide | carbon monoxide | smoke aging | AIRS | OMI | Black Saturday

ABSTRACT
The ‘Black Saturday’ fires were a series of devastating forest fires that burned across Victoria, Australia, during February and March of 2009. In this study we have used satellite data made publically available by NASA from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS) to track the smoke plume from the Black Saturday firestorm and explore the chemical aging of the smoke plume in the first days after emission. We also determined emission ratios for formaldehyde and nitrogen dioxide within smoke from fires actively burning across Victoria between 7 and 17 February 2009. The mean emission ratios with respect to carbon monoxide derived for these two tropospheric ozone precursors are (0.016 ± 0.004 mol.mol−1) for formaldehyde and (0.005 ± 0.002 mol.mol−1) for nitrogen dioxide. The mean emission ratio for formaldehyde with respect to CO is in broad agreement with values previously quoted in the literature for temperate forest fires. However, to our knowledge there are no previous measurements of emission ratios for nitrogen dioxide from Australian temperate forest fires.
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