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A study on wildfire impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and regional air quality in South of Orléans, France

Abdelwahid Mellouki , Chaoyang Xue , Gisèle Krysztofiak , Yangang Ren , Min Cai , Patrick Mercier , Frédéric Le Fur , Corinne Robin , Benoit Grosselin , Véronique Daële , Max R. McGillen , Yujing Mu , Valéry Catoire


Received April 04, 2022,Revised , Accepted August 25, 2022, Available online September 06, 2022

Volume 36,2024,Pages 521-533

Wildfire events are increasing globally which may be partly associated with climate change, resulting in significant adverse impacts on local, regional air quality and global climate. In September 2020, a small wildfire (burned area: 36.3 ha) event occurred in Souesmes (Loir-et-Cher, Sologne, France), and its plume spread out over 200 km on the following day as observed by the MODIS satellite. Based on measurements at a suburban site (∼ 50 km northwest of the fire location) in Orléans and backward trajectory analysis, young wildfire plumes were characterized. Significant increases in gaseous pollutants (CO, CH4, N2O, VOCs, etc.) and particles (including black carbon) were found within the wildfire plumes, leading to a reduced air quality. Emission factors, defined as EF (X) = ∆X/∆CO (where, X represents the target species), of various trace gases and black carbon within the young wildfire plumes were determined accordingly and compared with previous studies. Changes in the ambient ions (such as ammonium, sulfate, nitrate, chloride, and nitrite in the particle- and gas- phase) and aerosol properties (e.g., aerosol water content, aerosol pH) were also quantified and discussed. Moreover, we estimated the total carbon and climate-related species (e.g., CO2, CH4, N2O, and BC) emissions and compared them with fire emission inventories. Current biomass burning emission inventories have uncertainties in estimating small fire burned areas and emissions. For instance, we found that the Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS) may underestimate emissions (e.g., CO) of this small wildfire while other inventories (GFED and FINN) showed significant overestimation. Considering that it is the first time to record wildfire plumes in this region, related atmospheric implications are presented and discussed.

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