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EMM Seminar - 23 November 2012

Biomass burning and its influence on global climate change

Thomas Smith

on 26 August 2015

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Transcript of EMM Seminar - 23 November 2012

Live demo!
Carbon (and other) emissions estimates generally based on estimate of total Fuel Biomass Consumed:

Calculated via the simple equation first proposed in 1980*:

Total Fuel (Biomass) = Area x Fuel x Combustion
Consumed (kg) Burnt (m²) Load (kg/m²) Completeness (%)

Emission of Trace = Fuel x Emissions Factor
Gas Species X (g) Consumed (kg) Species X (EF, g/kg)
(e.g. CO2, CO, CH4)
Smith, Wooster, Tattaris et al. (2011)
flaming fires
Just recycled sunlight?
Biomass burning and its influence on global climate change
Thomas Smith
Environmental Monitoring and Modelling Group
Department of Geography, King's College London
smouldering fires
>soil moisture
>soil temperatures
permafrost thaw
on snow
surface change
burn period:
burn period:
Smoke and Mirrors:
Why biomass burning emissions are important and how to measure them
RFs from Bowman et al., (2009)
CO2 increase rate (ppm/year)
regrowth period:
3.5-4.5 million km² burns each year
releasing 2-4 Pg C (deforestation fires = 0.65 Pg)
How are global emissions calculated?
burned area (percent/year)
carbon emissions (g C/m²/year)
Emission of x = burnt area × mass combusted × EMISSION FACTOR of x
(g/kg combusted)
Plume ageing
Bias to convective (flaming) plume
Point sampling
Need to represent both flaming and smouldering
Sample transportation
Live Demo
Live Demo
How do we get useful information from these spectra?
Model spectrum using HITRAN... fit the model to the measurement
In the lab...
Live Demo
Live Demo
Emission Ratios
Emission Factors
The IPCC Good Practice Guidance (2000) argue that:

"Since the emission factor for CH4 can decrease by 50-75% as the burning season progresses, it is strongly suggested that each inventory agency collect...[data]...from the early dry season to the late dry season."
"It is desirable to develop seasonal-dependent activity data and the emission factors of CH4 and N2O from savanna burning in various savanna ecosystems in each country if data are available."

First comparison of OP-FTIR-derived emission factors with those derived from standard point-sampling measurements
regrowth period:
Model inputs:
spectral window
instrument parameters
apriori gas amounts
Introduction to the nature and importance of biomass burning emissions (10 mins)
Measuring emission factors using OP-FTIR spectroscopy with FTIR demo (16 mins)
Case Study: NT, Australia (8 mins)
Case Study: UK (8 mins)
Return to Aus: Solar measurements (4 mins)
NERC/ESRC, CSIRO, Charles Darwin University, NERC MSF, NERC FSF, Northumberland and Dorset Fire and Rescue Services, Canadian Forest Service
Martin Wooster, Maria Tattaris, Ronan Paugam, Melissa Lestari Meigh
Fire Radiative Power
and fuel consumption

Geostationary fire detection over Africa & Europe
Fire Radiative Power & fuel consumption
Fire Radiative Power derivation & evaluation
Use of FRP in smoke pollution forecasting
SEVIRI Characteristics
4.8 km pixel size at SSP
3.0 km sampling distance
15 minutes imaging freq.
11 spectral channels + 1 km VIS
Meteosat Disk
Geostationary Fire Detection
Fire Pixel and Fire Cluster Counts
Absolute Minimum
Minimum Size
Saturation point xx(BT = 335 K)
Algorithm Performance Characteristics
Current Primary Approaches to Emission Inventory
*Seiler, W. & Crutzen, P.J. (1980) Estimates of gross and net fluxes of carbon between
the biosphere and the atmosphere from biomass burning, Clim. Change, 2, 207-247
Example of Airborne Fire Signatures (SAFARI 2000, NASA)
Fires have very high temperatures compared to ambient surroundings
These high temperatures result in very intense radiant energy emissions particularly in the middle IR (3-5 microns) spectral region.
Fire MIR emission so strong that fires of  0.1-1% of a pixel are detectable.
Signal strength can be used as a method of quantifying the fires ‘intensity’
Digital scales
weather station
Vegetation fuel
Thermal camera (λ=3.9 μm) + Optical video camera
Fuel Mass
Emission Rate of Species X = FRP * Scaling Factor * Emission Factor Species X
(kg/sec) (MW) (kg/MW) (g/kg)
Fire Radiative Power & Energy:
Relationship to Fuel Consumption
Fire Map for African Sahel (04/02/04 – 14/02/04)
1 3 6 9 14
Day of Feb 2004
Fire Radiative Energy = 4.2 x 1010 MJ
Estimated Total Fuel Biomass Consumed = 27 x 106 tonnes
Estimated Total Carbon Release = 13 x 106 tonnes
Apply appropriate EF to estimate CO2, CO, NOx, SO2, PM etc
Case Study: Australia
Meyer et al., 2012, JGR
Case Study: UK
Current NAEI estimates of moorland/heathland burning based on best-guess emission factors

first emissions inventory for UK fuel types
explore nature of the OP-FTIR sampled plume
Smith, Wooster, Tattaris et al. (2011)
Source sampling of flaming and smouldering emissions
smouldering vs. flaming modes
Return to Aus
What about those lofted plumes?
measure them using the sun as an IR source
do they have the same emission ratios as plumes measured by OP-FTIR on the ground?
previous research had shown a relationship between plume gases and AOD, can we measure this using field-portable equipment? for CO2?
EMM Seminar: 23 November 2012
Evaluation of a novel technique for measuring emissions from biomass burning (Smith et al., 2011)
Comparison with standard point-sampling techniques in northern Australia is encouraging (Meyer et al., 2012)
Point-sampled measurements of flaming combustion help to confirm lack of bias towards smouldering emissions
Solar plume measurements could not be used to measure CO2, but emission ratio of NH3 to CO similar to that found on the ground
New emissions inventory for tropical Australia (Meyer et al., 2012 and future publications)
First emissions inventory for UK moorlands
Potential for use of CO/AOD relationship
CO2 (ppm)
CO2 (ppm)
CO2 (ppm)
CO2 (ppm)
Full transcript