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A Global Analysis of Wildfire Smoke Injection Heights Derived from Space-Based...

Martin, M., R. Kahn, and M. Tosca (2022), A Global Analysis of Wildfire Smoke Injection Heights Derived from Space-Based Multi-Angle Imaging, doi:10.3390/rs10101609.

We present an analysis of over 23,000 globally distributed wildfire smoke plume injection heights derived from Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) space-based, multi-angle stereo imaging. Both pixel-weighted and aerosol optical depth (AOD)-weighted results are given, stratified by region, biome, and month or season. This offers an observational resource for assessing first-principle plume-rise modelling, and can provide some constraints on smoke dispersion modelling for climate and air quality applications. The main limitation is that the satellite is in a sun-synchronous orbit, crossing the equator at about 10:30 a.m. local time on the day side. Overall, plumes occur preferentially during the northern mid-latitude burning season, and the vast majority inject smoke near-surface. However, the heavily forested regions of North and South America, and Africa produce the most frequent elevated plumes and the highest AOD values; some smoke is injected to altitudes well above 2 km in nearly all regions and biomes. Planetary boundary layer (PBL) versus free troposphere injection is a critical factor affecting smoke dispersion and environmental impact, and is affected by both the smoke injection height and the PBL height; an example assessment is made here, but constraining the PBL height for this application warrants further work.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Terra- MISR