Biomass Burning Over the United States East Coast and Western North Atlantic Ocean: Implications for Clouds and Air Quality

Ali Hossein Mardi, Hossein Dadashazar, David Painemal, Taylor Shingler, Shane T. Seaman, Marta A. Fenn, Chris A. Hostetler, Armin Sorooshian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Biomass burning (BB) aerosol events were characterized over the U.S. East Coast and Bermuda over the western North Atlantic Ocean (WNAO) between 2005 and 2018 using a combination of ground-based observations, satellite data, and model outputs. Days with BB influence in an atmospheric column (BB days) were identified using criteria biased toward larger fire events based on anomalously high AERONET aerosol optical depth (AOD) and MERRA-2 black carbon (BC) column density. BB days are present year-round with more in June–August (JJA) over the northern part of the East Coast, in contrast to more frequent events in March–May (MAM) over the southeast U.S. and Bermuda. BB source regions in MAM are southern Mexico and by the Yucatan, Central America, and the southeast U.S. JJA source regions are western parts of North America. Less than half of the BB days coincide with anomalously high PM2.5 levels in the surface layer, according to data from 14 IMPROVE sites over the East Coast. Profiles of aerosol extinction suggest that BB particles can be found in the boundary layer and into the upper troposphere with the potential to interact with clouds. Higher cloud drop number concentration and lower drop effective radius are observed during BB days. In addition, lower liquid water path is found during these days, especially when BB particles are present in the boundary layer. While patterns are suggestive of cloud-BB aerosol interactions over the East Coast and the WNAO, additional studies are needed for confirmation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021JD034916
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Volume126
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 27 2021

Keywords

  • ACTIVATE
  • aerosol-cloud interaction
  • biomass burning
  • EVS-3
  • HSRL
  • smoke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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