Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Biochemistry | Chemistry | Life Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics
In March 2006 two instrumented aircraft made the first detailed field measurements of biomass burning (BB) emissions in the Northern Hemisphere tropics as part of the MILAGRO project. The aircraft were the National Center for Atmospheric Research C-130 and a University of Montana/US Forest Service Twin Otter. The initial emissions of up to 49 trace gas or particle species were measured from 20 deforestation and crop residue fires on the Yucatan peninsula. This included two trace gases useful as indicators of BB (HCN and acetonitrile) and several rarely, or never before, measured species: OH, peroxyacetic acid, propanoic acid, hydrogen peroxide, methane sulfonic acid, and sulfuric acid. Crop residue fires emitted more organic acids and ammonia than deforestation fires, but the emissions from the main fire types were otherwise fairly similar. The Yucatan fires emitted unusually high amounts of SO(2) and particle chloride, likely due to a strong marine influence on this peninsula. As smoke from one fire aged, the ratio Delta O(3)/Delta CO increased to similar to 15% in 1x10(7) molecules/cm(3)) that were likely caused in part by high initial HONO (similar to 10% of NO(y)). Thus, more research is needed to understand critical post emission processes for the second-largest trace gas source on Earth. It is estimated that similar to 44 Tg of biomass burned in the Yucatan in the spring of 2006. Mexican BB (including Yucatan BB) and urban emissions from the Mexico City area can both influence the March-May air quality in much of Mexico and the US.
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