The long-term transport and radiative impacts of the 2017 British Columbia pyrocumulonimbus smoke aerosols in the stratosphere.

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Date: Aug. 12, 2021
From: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics(Vol. 21, Issue 15)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 380 words

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Abstract :

Interactions of meteorology with wildfires in British Columbia, Canada, during August 2017 led to three major pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) events that resulted in the injection of large amounts of smoke aerosols and other combustion products at the local upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). These plumes of UTLS smoke with elevated values of aerosol extinction and backscatter compared to the background state were readily tracked by multiple satellite-based instruments as they spread across the Northern Hemisphere (NH). The plumes were observed in the lower stratosphere for about 8-10 months following the fire injections, with a stratospheric aerosol e-folding time of about 5 months. To investigate the radiative impacts of these events on the Earth system, we performed a number of simulations with the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM). Observations from multiple remote-sensing instruments were used to calibrate the injection parameters (location, amount, composition and heights) and optical properties of the smoke aerosols in the model. The resulting simulations of three-dimensional smoke transport were evaluated for a year from the day of injections using daily observations from OMPS-LP (Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite Limb Profiler). The model-simulated rate of ascent, hemispheric spread and residence time (or e-folding time) of the smoke aerosols in the stratosphere are in close agreement with OMPS-LP observations. We found that both aerosol self-lofting and the large-scale atmospheric motion play important roles in lifting the smoke plumes from near the tropopause altitudes (â¼ 12 km) to about 22-23 km into the atmosphere. Further, our estimations of the radiative impacts of the pyroCb-emitted smoke aerosols showed that the smoke caused an additional warming of the atmosphere by about 0.6-1 W/m.sup.2 (zonal mean) that persisted for about 2-3 months after the injections in regions north of 40.sup." N. The surface experienced a comparable magnitude of cooling. The atmospheric warming is mainly located in the stratosphere, coincident with the location of the smoke plumes, leading to an increase in zonal mean shortwave (SW) heating rates of 0.02-0.04 K/d during September 2017.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A671837337