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Open AccessArticle

A Global Analysis of Wildfire Smoke Injection Heights Derived from Space-Based Multi-Angle Imaging

by Maria Val Martin 1,*,†, Ralph A. Kahn 2,† and Mika G. Tosca 3,4
Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation, Animal Plant Sciences Department, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Climate and Radiation Laboratory, Code 613, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Chicago, IL 60603, USA
Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(10), 1609;
Received: 3 September 2018 / Revised: 28 September 2018 / Accepted: 2 October 2018 / Published: 10 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MISR)
We present an analysis of over 23,000 globally distributed wildfire smoke plume injection heights derived from Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) space-based, multi-angle stereo imaging. Both pixel-weighted and aerosol optical depth (AOD)-weighted results are given, stratified by region, biome, and month or season. This offers an observational resource for assessing first-principle plume-rise modelling, and can provide some constraints on smoke dispersion modelling for climate and air quality applications. The main limitation is that the satellite is in a sun-synchronous orbit, crossing the equator at about 10:30 a.m. local time on the day side. Overall, plumes occur preferentially during the northern mid-latitude burning season, and the vast majority inject smoke near-surface. However, the heavily forested regions of North and South America, and Africa produce the most frequent elevated plumes and the highest AOD values; some smoke is injected to altitudes well above 2 km in nearly all regions and biomes. Planetary boundary layer (PBL) versus free troposphere injection is a critical factor affecting smoke dispersion and environmental impact, and is affected by both the smoke injection height and the PBL height; an example assessment is made here, but constraining the PBL height for this application warrants further work. View Full-Text
Keywords: MISR; biomass burning; smoke plume height MISR; biomass burning; smoke plume height
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MDPI and ACS Style

Val Martin, M.; Kahn, R.A.; Tosca, M.G. A Global Analysis of Wildfire Smoke Injection Heights Derived from Space-Based Multi-Angle Imaging. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1609.

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