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On the Radiative Impact of Biomass-Burning Aerosols in the Arctic: The August 2017 Case Study

Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatic and Statistics, University Ca’ Foscari, 30172 Venice, Italy
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, 00143 Rome, Italy
ENEA, Laboratory of Observations and Measurements for the Environment and Climate, 00123 Rome, Italy
Department of Chemistry “Ugo Schiff”, University of Florence, 50019 Florence, Italy
Department of Physics, University of Rome “Sapienza”, 00184 Rome, Italy
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80301, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mariana Adam and Michaël Sicard
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(2), 313;
Received: 2 December 2021 / Revised: 30 December 2021 / Accepted: 7 January 2022 / Published: 11 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Remote Sensing of Biomass Burning)
This study aims to quantify the effects of smoke originating from boreal biomass-burning fires on solar radiation propagating through the atmosphere. The wildfires that took place in summer 2017 along Greenland’s west coast and northern Canada produced a considerable amount of particles that were transported north and northeast, respectively, and were detected at the Thule High Arctic Atmospheric Observatory (THAAO; 76.53N,68.74W). Solar radiation measurements carried out at THAAO, satellite data, and modeled radiations allowed the estimation of surface cooling and the warming aloft at two atmospheric layers (at altitudes of approximately 5 and 11 km asl) due to the presence of the biomass-burning aerosol particles.
Boreal fires have increased during the last years and are projected to become more intense and frequent as a consequence of climate change. Wildfires produce a wide range of effects on the Arctic climate and ecosystem, and understanding these effects is crucial for predicting the future evolution of the Arctic region. This study focuses on the impact of the long-range transport of biomass-burning aerosol into the atmosphere and the corresponding radiative perturbation in the shortwave frequency range. As a case study, we investigate an intense biomass-burning (BB) event which took place in summer 2017 in Canada and subsequent northeastward transport of gases and particles in the plume leading to exceptionally high values (0.86) of Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) at 500 nm measured in northwestern Greenland on 21 August 2017. This work characterizes the BB plume measured at the Thule High Arctic Atmospheric Observatory (THAAO; 76.53N, 68.74W) in August 2017 by assessing the associated shortwave aerosol direct radiative impact over the THAAO and extending this evaluation over the broader region (60N–80N, 110W–0E). The radiative transfer simulations with MODTRAN6.0 estimated an aerosol heating rate of up to 0.5 K/day in the upper aerosol layer (8–12 km). The direct aerosol radiative effect (ARE) vertical profile shows a maximum negative value of −45.4 Wm2 for a 78 solar zenith angle above THAAO at 3 km altitude. A cumulative surface ARE of −127.5 TW is estimated to have occurred on 21 August 2017 over a portion (∼3.1×106 km2) of the considered domain (60N–80N, 110W–0E). ARE regional mean daily values over the same portion of the domain vary between −65 and −25 Wm2. Although this is a limited temporal event, this effect can have significant influence on the Arctic radiative budget, especially in the anticipated scenario of increasing wildfires. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomass-burning (BB); wildfires; Arctic; aerosol radiative effect; aerosol heating rate biomass-burning (BB); wildfires; Arctic; aerosol radiative effect; aerosol heating rate
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MDPI and ACS Style

Calì Quaglia, F.; Meloni, D.; Muscari, G.; Di Iorio, T.; Ciardini, V.; Pace, G.; Becagli, S.; Di Bernardino, A.; Cacciani, M.; Hannigan, J.W.; Ortega, I.; di Sarra, A.G. On the Radiative Impact of Biomass-Burning Aerosols in the Arctic: The August 2017 Case Study. Remote Sens. 2022, 14, 313.

AMA Style

Calì Quaglia F, Meloni D, Muscari G, Di Iorio T, Ciardini V, Pace G, Becagli S, Di Bernardino A, Cacciani M, Hannigan JW, Ortega I, di Sarra AG. On the Radiative Impact of Biomass-Burning Aerosols in the Arctic: The August 2017 Case Study. Remote Sensing. 2022; 14(2):313.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Calì Quaglia, Filippo, Daniela Meloni, Giovanni Muscari, Tatiana Di Iorio, Virginia Ciardini, Giandomenico Pace, Silvia Becagli, Annalisa Di Bernardino, Marco Cacciani, James W. Hannigan, Ivan Ortega, and Alcide G. di Sarra. 2022. "On the Radiative Impact of Biomass-Burning Aerosols in the Arctic: The August 2017 Case Study" Remote Sensing 14, no. 2: 313.

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