3A.4 Estimating Worldwide Wildfire Emissions in Near-Real-Time and Their Impact on Air Quality

Monday, 8 January 2018: 2:45 PM
Room 17A (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Vincent-Henri Peuch, ECMWF, Reading, UK; and M. Parrington

As part of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), the Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS) is running operationally at ECMWF to estimate wildfire emissions daily as an input to Global and Regional (Europe) air quality forecasts. This system is currently relying on MODIS Fire Radiative Power (FRP) observations, but it is being expanded to include also FRP information from geostationary instruments over Europe, America and Asia. We’ll use the examples from a number of acute cases in 2017 (Chile in January, Portugal in June, Greenland in August…) to showcase how this system works in real situations, and how it will improve when hourly observations will be added. Beside emissions, the plumes of aerosol and other key pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO) are further improved by assimilating other satellite data such as Aerosol Optical Depths, columns or profiles information. It allows forecasting the medium- to long-range effects of wildfires on air quality, visibility and weather. This enables ECMWF and the users of CAMS worldwide to overcome the previous shortcomings that air quality forecasts were entirely wrong when “exceptional” emissions happened in the case of large fires or volcanic eruptions. Now, it is possible to provide the media and the general public in Near-Real-Time with estimates of the emissions of CO2 and of other pollutants and give some information about what may be the impacts. Besides, the database of fire emissions that we have built allows putting individual episodes in a climatological context and answering the questions about how far a given episode is exceptional. CAMS emissions and atmospheric composition forecasts data are unrestricted and freely available to users worldwide.
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