Biomass Burning Over the United States East Coast and Western North Atlantic...

Mardi, A. H., H. Dadashazar, D. Painemal, T. Shingler, S. T. Seaman, M. A. Fenn, C. Hostetler, and A. Sorooshian (2021), Biomass Burning Over the United States East Coast and Western North Atlantic Ocean: Implications for Clouds and Air Quality, J. Geophys. Res., 126, e2021JD034916, doi:10.1029/2021JD034916.

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.

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Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)
Funding Sources: 
NASA grant 80NSSC19K0442