Seventh Annual AMS Student Conference


Compiling a climatology of smoke plume injection heights from satellite measurements

Shawn R. Gindhart, Millersville University, Millersville, PA; and C. Ichoku

Wildfires and other types of biomass-burning devastate vast areas of forest lands, grass lands, and agricultural lands across the globe. A major product of these fires is the tremendous amount of smoke that is emitted into the atmosphere annually. Smoke comprises aerosol particles and trace gases which impact life and the environment in various ways. Although the actual amount of smoke released by fire is very important in determining the impact of smoke on health, air-quality, weather, and climate, the height of smoke injection is also a critical factor in determining how long the smoke lasts in the atmosphere, and how far it is transported away from its source, which determine how long and widespread the impact of the smoke will be. Most estimates of smoke injection heights are derived from plume-rise models. Compiling the climatology of smoke plume injection heights from observations and measurements would provide a good comparison or validation against model output. In this study, visible satellite images acquired by the MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS) from 2000 to 2007 were examined, and locations of fires associated with distinct smoke plumes were identified. Using the fire location information, corresponding atmospheric profiles from Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) and stereo-height products from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) were obtained in order to extract smoke plume heights for each of the identified fires. CALIPSO was useful for some fires dating back to April 2006, when it was launched, while MISR, which was launched onboard the Terra satellite in December 1999, provided data for a longer time period. Overall, smoke plume height values were obtained for about 145 fires around the globe. Based on this analysis we were able to produce a global map of typical smoke plume heights, and found the global average smoke plume height to be 2.33 km, while North America has an average of 3 km, with a range of 0.4 to 5 km.

Poster Session 1, Student Conference General Poster Session
Sunday, 20 January 2008, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM, Exhibit Hall B

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