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Quantifying Long‐Term Seasonal and Regional Impacts of North American Fire Activity on Continental Boundary Layer Aerosols and Cloud Condensation Nuclei

Logan, Timothy and Dong, Xiquan and Xi, Baike and Zheng, Xiaojian and Wang, Yuan and Wu, Peng and Marlow, Eleanor and Maddux, James (2020) Quantifying Long‐Term Seasonal and Regional Impacts of North American Fire Activity on Continental Boundary Layer Aerosols and Cloud Condensation Nuclei. Earth and Space Science, 7 (12). Art. No. e2020EA001113. ISSN 2333-5084.

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An intimate knowledge of aerosol transport is essential in reducing the uncertainty of the impacts of aerosols on cloud development. Data sets from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement platform in the Southern Great Plains region (ARM‐SGP) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Modern‐Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA‐2), showed seasonal increases in aerosol loading and total carbon concentration during the spring and summer months (2008–2016) which was attributed to fire activity and smoke transport within North America. The monthly mean MERRA‐2 surface carbonaceous aerosol mass concentration and ARM‐SGP total carbon products were strongly correlated (R = 0.82, p < 0.01) along with a moderate correlation with the ARM‐SGP cloud condensation nuclei (NCCN) product (0.5, p ~ 0.1). The monthly mean ARM‐SGP total carbon and N_(CCN) products were strongly correlated (0.7, p ~ 0.01). An additional product denoting fire number and coverage taken from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) showed a moderate correlation with the MERRA‐2 carbonaceous product (0.45, p < 0.01) during the 1981–2016 warm season months (March–September). With respect to meteorological conditions, the correlation between the NIFC fire product and MERRA‐2 850‐hPa isobaric height anomalies was lower (0.26, p ~ 0.13) due to the variability in the frequency, intensity, and number of fires in North America. An observed increase in the isobaric height anomaly during the past decade may lead to frequent synoptic ridging and drier conditions with more fires, thereby potentially impacting cloud/precipitation processes and decreasing air quality.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemNASA Giovanni online data system ItemNOAA ESRL data repository
Logan, Timothy0000-0003-2648-1749
Dong, Xiquan0000-0002-3359-6117
Xi, Baike0000-0001-6126-2010
Zheng, Xiaojian0000-0001-5913-719X
Wang, Yuan0000-0001-6657-8401
Wu, Peng0000-0001-7066-5487
Additional Information:© 2020 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. Issue Online: 09 December 2020; Version of Record online: 09 December 2020; Accepted manuscript online: 03 November 2020; Manuscript accepted: 18 October 2020; Manuscript revised: 29 September 2020; Manuscript received: 29 January 2020. The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments to improve the manuscript. This research was supported by National Science Foundation Collaborative Research under award number AGS‐1700796 at Texas A&M University, AGS‐1700728 at the University of Arizona, and AGS‐1700727 at California Institute of Technology. Eleanor Marlow and James Maddux were supported by the Texas A&M University High Impact Learning Program grant. Data Availability Statement: The surface aerosol data were obtained from the ARM‐SGP central facility sponsored by the U.S. DOE Office of Energy Research, Office of Health and Environmental Research, and Environmental Sciences Division. Analyses and visualizations used to generate the MERRA‐2 figures were produced using the NASA Giovanni online data system, developed and maintained by the NASA GES DISC (found at The wind data used in Figure 5 are available from NOAA ESRL data repository website (found at
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Texas A&M UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:aerosol chemistry; aerosol‐cloud interactions; biomass burning;boundary layer aerosols; climatology
Issue or Number:12
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201105-093629345
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Official Citation:Logan, T., Dong, X., Xi, B., Zheng, X., Wang, Y., Wu, P., et al. (2020). Quantifying long‐term seasonal and regional impacts of North American fire activity on continental boundary layer aerosols and cloud condensation nuclei. Earth and Space Science, 7, e2020EA001113.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106449
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:05 Nov 2020 19:33
Last Modified:11 Dec 2020 22:05

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