DOE fielding aircraft-based study of aerosols generated by wildfires and agriculture burns in US
08 July 2013
Scientists from the US. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will conduct a field campaign this summer and fall in the skies over the Pacific Northwest and Tennessee to measure the evolution of aerosols in wildfires and prescribed agriculture burns, respectively.
Sponsored by the DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility, the Biomass Burning Observation Project (BBOP) will conduct aircraft observations to study the near-field evolution of changes in chemical, optical, and microphysical properties of aerosols generated in biomass burning events.
Bio-burning releases soot, organic aerosols and heat-trapping gases that are recognized to perturb the Earth’s climate both directly, through scattering and absorption of incoming shortwave radiation, and indirectly, by influencing cloud formation and precipitation.
The researchers will use the DOE Gulfstream-1 (G-1) aircraft for the campaign and plan to log 120 hours of flight time, focusing on wildfires in the vicinity of Pasco, Washington, and agricultural fires near Memphis, Tennessee. They will use several new instruments and instrument combinations not previously used in aircraft research. The G-1 is operated by the ARM Aerial Facility team at PNNL.
Larry Kleinman and Arthur Sedlacek from Brookhaven Lab’s Environmental Sciences Department will direct the field study. The team also includes collaborators from Aerodyne Research, Arizona State University, Boston College, the Desert Research Institute, NASA, the University of Arkansas, the University of California-Davis, the University of Montana, the University of Nevada, the University of Washington’s Mount Bachelor Observatory, and Japan’s Meteorological Research Institute.
While many field campaigns have studied biomass burning, the majority have focused on tropical regions. Fewer and smaller scale aircraft-based field campaigns focused on fire emissions have been carried out in the United States. In large sections of the US, aerosols from fires contribute a major fraction of aerosol mass, and their year-to-year variability dominates the overall variability of aerosol loading and radiative forcing.
The researchers will conduct measurements near active fires, where limited observations indicate rapid changes in aerosol properties, and in biomass burning plumes more than five hours old. Aerosol properties and their evolution will be determined as a function of fire type, defined according to fuel and the mix of flaming and smoldering combustion at the source.
Wildfires produce approximately 40% of all soot, which has been shown to contribute to global warming, and different stages of burns emit different types of aerosols. In addition, aerosols released from natural fires are different from manmade ones.
Scientists believe that aerosol effects on clouds may change the regional and global circulation systems that constitute the Earth's climate. The BBOP researchers hope that their field study will contribute to a better understanding of how aerosols emitted by different types of fires may contribute to climate change.
From various news sources, hopefully on topic.
The EU continues to debate a plan cap the percentage of biofuels made from food crops, with a final vote due to occur on 10 July.
Proponents say the cap is needed because of environment concerns over the EU's biofuel policy – which sets a target of 10% of transport fuels coming from biofuel by 2020, but the proposed cap has come under fierce criticism from biodiesel companies and farmers. The industry says the EU is destroying a booming £14bn sector while farmers feel demand is being taken away from them at a time of increasing volatility in global food prices.
In S.E.Asia meanwhile,
Last week, the Indonesian co-ordinating minister for people's welfare, Agung Laksono, slammed critical comments by Singaporean officials about the haze, saying they should have been conveyed through diplomatic channels instead of publicly.
"Singapore should not act like children, making all that noise," he said.
Kuala Lumpur rose close to the officially "very unhealthy" 200 level for the first time, but registered up to 746 elsewhere, well above 300, the level considered "hazardous".
An emergency was also declared in 2005 when readings soared above 500
Malaysia's highest recording for the pollution index was 860 in 1997.
The '97 fires saw Indonesia the third highest carbon emitter behind China and USA.
Comparable to 13-40 percent of the fossil fuels emitted globally that same year.
Largely the result of burning for palm oil with forestry clearance practices in second place.
Many of the hotspots identified by satellite are in what appears to be the concession areas of some of the world's largest palm oil and pulp and paper companies, some of which are owned by Singaporean and Malaysian families.
...."Both companies responded at the weekend saying that fires on their land had been started outside their zones but had now been contained.
In a statement, Asia Pacific Resources International (April) said: "We have now completed a review of the satellite imagery and have verified by direct field inspection that there are currently three fires in our concessions covering approximately 20 hectares. These fires have been contained and our fire fighters are working to extinguish them. All fires ... originally started outside of their concession areas and had spread into concessions.
Apparently some 200 farm laborers have been prosecuted but no property owners.
Over US$1.4 billion has been invested to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest fires in Indonesia. Investors include Norway, Australia, Germany, United States, United Kingdom, France, Denmark, South Korea and Japan — as well as private companies such as Merrill Lynch, the Marubeni Corporation and Gazprom. Why are these investments not working in Riau Province, where most of the fires causing the Singapore Haze have occurred?
One strategy being pursued to combat Indonesia’s forest fires and high deforestation rates is a mechanism known as REDD+, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.
Envisioned as a form of “payments for environmental services”, high-emission countries and companies pay rainforest-rich nations and communities to conserve forests, thus “offsetting” carbon emissions in one location through the sequestration of carbon in another.
This strategy is based on the premise that market logic is more effective than government regulations in curbing carbon emissions.
Indonesia now hosts more than 50 international REDD+ carbon- And so on.
Posted by: Arnold | 08 July 2013 at 09:47 PM