Biomass Burning Plumes in the Vicinity of the California Coast: Airborne Characterization of Physicochemical Properties, Heating Rates, and Spatiotemporal Features

Ali Hossein Mardi, Hossein Dadashazar, Alexander B. MacDonald, Rachel A. Braun, Ewan Crosbie, Peng Xian, Tyler J. Thorsen, Matthew M. Coggon, Marta A. Fenn, Richard A. Ferrare, Johnathan W. Hair, Roy K. Woods, Haflidi H. Jonsson, Richard C. Flagan, John H. Seinfeld, Armin Sorooshian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study characterizes in situ airborne properties associated with biomass burning (BB) plumes in the vicinity of the California coast. Out of 231 total aircraft soundings in July–August 2013 and 2016, 81 were impacted by BB layers. A number of vertical characteristics of BB layers are summarized in this work (altitude, location relative to cloud top height, thickness, number of vertically adjacent layers, interlayer distances) in addition to differences in vertical aerosol concentration profiles due to either surface type (e.g., land or ocean) or time of day. Significant BB layer stratification occurred, especially over ocean versus land, with the majority of layers in the free troposphere and within 100 m of the boundary layer top. Heating rate profiles demonstrated the combined effect of cloud and BB layers and their mutual interactions, with enhanced heating in BB layers with clouds present underneath. Aerosol size distribution data are summarized below and above the boundary layer, with a notable finding being enhanced concentrations of supermicrometer particles in BB conditions. A plume aging case study revealed the dominance of organics in the free troposphere, with secondary production of inorganic and organic species and coagulation as a function of distance from fire source up to 450 km. Rather than higher horizontal and vertical resolution, a new smoke injection height method was the source of improved agreement for the vertical distribution of BB aerosol in the Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System model when compared to airborne data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13,560-13,582
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Volume123
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 16 2018

Keywords

  • California
  • Soberanes Fire
  • aerosol
  • biomass burning
  • injection height
  • stratocumulus clouds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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