Airborne observations of trace gases over boreal Canada during BORTAS: campaign climatology, airmass analysis and enhancement ratios

S. J. O'Shea, G. Allen, M. W. Gallagher, S. J.-B. Bauguitte, S. M. Illingworth, M. Le Breton, J. B. A. Muller, C. J. Percival, A. T. Archibald, D. E. Oram, M. Parrington, P. I. Palmer (+1 others)
2013 Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions  
In situ airborne measurements were made over eastern Canada in summer 2011 as part of the BORTAS experiment (Quantifying the impact of BOReal forest fires on Tropospheric oxidants over the Atlantic using Aircraft and Satellites). In this paper we present observations of greenhouse gases (CO 2 and CH 4 ) and other biomass burning tracers (CO, HCN and CH 3 CN), both climatologically and through case studies, as recorded on board the FAAM BAe-146 research aircraft. Vertical profiles of CO 2 were
more » ... iles of CO 2 were generally characterised by depleted boundary layer concentrations relative to the free troposphere, consistent with terrestrial biospheric uptake. In contrast, CH 4 concentrations were found to rise with decreasing altitude due to strong local and regional surface sources. BORTAS observations were found to be broadly comparable with both previous measurements in the region during the regional burning season and with reanalysed composition fields from the EU Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Change (MACC) project. We use coincident tracer-tracer correlations and a Lagrangian trajectory model to characterise and differentiate air mass history of intercepted plumes. In particular, CO, HCN and CH 3 CN were used to identify air masses that have been recently influenced by biomass burning. Examining individual cases we were able to quantify emissions from biomass burning. Using both near-field (< 1 day) and far-field (> 1 day) sampling, boreal forest fire plumes were identified throughout the troposphere. Fresh plumes from fires in northwestern Ontario yield emission factors for CH 4 and CO 2 of 8.5 ± 0.9 g (kg dry matter) −1 and 1512 ± 185 g (kg dry matter) −1 , respectively. We have also investigated the efficacy of calculating emission factors from far-field sampling, in which there might be expected to be limited mixing with background and other characteristic air masses, and we provide guidance on best practice and limitations in such analysis. We have found that for measurements within plumes that originated from fires in northwestern Ontario 2-4 days upwind, emission factors can be calculated that range between 1618 ± 216 and 1702 ± 173 g Published by Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union. 12452 S. J. O'Shea et al.: Airborne observations of trace gases over boreal Canada (kg dry matter) −1 for CO 2 and 1.8 ± 0.2 and 6.1 ± 1 g (kg dry matter) −1 for CH 4 . 2 Data sources and analysis methodology 2.
doi:10.5194/acpd-13-14069-2013 fatcat:rpyxhqba3nbkfahg2qa5o4gyj4