Remote sensing and model analysis of biomass burning smoke transported across the Atlantic during the 2020 Western US wildfire season

Télédétection et analyse de modèles des fumées de combustion de la biomasse transportées à travers l'Atlantique pendant la saison des feux de forêt dans l'ouest des États-Unis en 2020

Ceamanos, Xavier ; Coopman, Quentin ; George, Maya ; Riedi, Jérôme ; Parrington, Mark ; Clerbaux, Cathy

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<p align=justify>Biomass burning is the main source of air pollution in several regions worldwide nowadays. This predominance is expected to increase in the upcoming years as a result of the rising number of devastating wildfires due to climate change. Harmful pollutants contained in the smoke emitted by fires can alter downwind air quality both locally and remotely as a consequence of the recurrent transport of biomass burning plumes across thousands of kilometers. Here, we demonstrate how observations of carbon monoxide and aerosol optical depth retrieved from polar orbiting and geostationary meteorological satellites can be used to study the long-range transport and evolution of smoke plumes. This is illustrated through the megafire events that occurred during summer 2020 in the Western United States and the transport of the emitted smoke across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. Analyses from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, which combine satellite observations with an atmospheric model, are used for comparison across the region of study and along simulated air parcel trajectories. Lidar observation from spaceborne and ground-based instruments are used to verify consistency of passive observations. Results show the potential of joint satellite-model analysis to understand the emission, transport, and processing of smoke across the world.</p>
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