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Open AccessArticle

Multi-Year (2013–2016) PM2.5 Wildfire Pollution Exposure over North America as Determined from Operational Air Quality Forecasts

1
Canadian Meteorological Centre Operations, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2121 Rte Transcanadienne, Montreal, QC H9P 1J3, Canada
2
Air Quality Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, ON M3H 5T4, Canada
3
Environmental Health Services, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4R4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2017, 8(9), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos8090179
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Monitoring and Forecasting)
FireWork is an on-line, one-way coupled meteorology–chemistry model based on near-real-time wildfire emissions. It was developed by Environment and Climate Change Canada to deliver operational real-time forecasts of biomass-burning pollutants, in particular fine particulate matter (PM2.5), over North America. Such forecasts provide guidance for early air quality alerts that could reduce air pollution exposure and protect human health. A multi-year (2013–2016) analysis of FireWork forecasts over a five-month period (May to September) was conducted. This work used an archive of FireWork outputs to quantify wildfire contributions to total PM2.5 surface concentrations across North America. Different concentration thresholds (0.2 to 28 µg/m3) and averaging periods (24 h to five months) were considered. Analysis suggested that, on average over the fire season, 76% of Canadians and 69% of Americans were affected by seasonal wildfire-related PM2.5 concentrations above 0.2 µg/m3. These effects were particularly pronounced in July and August. Futhermore, the analysis showed that fire emissions contributed more than 1 µg/m3 of daily average PM2.5 concentrations on more than 30% of days in the western USA and northwestern Canada during the fire season. View Full-Text
Keywords: air quality modeling; wildfire smoke; fine particulate matter; wildfire pollution exposure air quality modeling; wildfire smoke; fine particulate matter; wildfire pollution exposure
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Munoz-Alpizar, R.; Pavlovic, R.; Moran, M.D.; Chen, J.; Gravel, S.; Henderson, S.B.; Ménard, S.; Racine, J.; Duhamel, A.; Gilbert, S.; Beaulieu, P.-A.; Landry, H.; Davignon, D.; Cousineau, S.; Bouchet, V. Multi-Year (2013–2016) PM2.5 Wildfire Pollution Exposure over North America as Determined from Operational Air Quality Forecasts. Atmosphere 2017, 8, 179.

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