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FIREX-AQ Measurements Inform Better Air Pollutant Projection

wildfire smoke in the sky behind a field of grass

CPO’s Atmospheric Chemistry, Carbon Cycle and Climate (AC4) Program supported new research detailing the effect of fires on air quality and climate. AC4-funded researcher Glenn Wolf of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center worked with a large team of scientists from NOAA, NASA, and multiple U.S. and international institutions. This project contributed to the joint NOAA- and NASA-led FIREX-AQ (Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality 2019) field campaign.

Scientists studied emissions from US wildfires and prescribed fires during the 2019 FIREX-AQ campaign, measuring gases and aerosols to understand their impact on air quality and climate. The results, published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, show that the emissions of various compounds, such as non-methane organic gases (NMOGs) and nitrogen-containing species, correlated with factors like carbon monoxide (CO) and modified combustion efficiency (MCE). These correlations provide valuable insights for modeling the chemical evolution of wildfire smoke and predicting the formation of secondary pollutants like ozone and secondary organic aerosol. The findings suggest that wildfires are a significant source of pollutants, and understanding their emissions is crucial for predicting and mitigating their effects.

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For more information, contact Clara Deck.

Image credit: Pixabay

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