Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health 2008 Vol: 1(3):143-158. DOI: 10.1007/s11869-008-0020-0

## Contribution of forest fire emissions to atmospheric pollution in Greece

Forest fires are a major contributor of atmospheric gaseous and particulate pollutants. With respect to forest fires, Greece faces one of Europe’s most severe problems during summer. To create a forest fire emissions inventory, a database which holds data for forest fires in Greece during the period 1997–2003 was established in this study and a methodology for the quantification of both gaseous and particulate matter emissions from forest fires was developed. The contribution of forest fire pollutant emissions to the total anthropogenic and natural emissions in Greece has been estimated in detail for a specific period during July 2000 when widespread forest fires occurred in the Greek mainland. The mesoscale air quality modeling system UAM-AERO was used to quantify the contribution of forest fire emissions to the air pollution levels in Greece, and it was calculated that the forest fire emissions were the largest contributors to the air pollution problem in regions tens of kilometers away from the fire source during this period. The wildfire emissions were calculated to cause an increase in the average PM10 concentration, organic aerosol mass, and gaseous concentration of several pollutants, among them CO, NO x , and NH3. An average contribution of 50% to the PM10 concentration over the region around the burnt area and downwind of the fire source (approximately 500 km) is calculated with a maximum of 80%, whereas, for CO, the average contribution was 50% during this period. The theoretical calculations were compared with in situ observations of smoke aerosols captured by a backscatter lidar system over the Greater Athens Basin as well as with surface observations of NO2 and O3 and the calculated concentrations were in better agreement with observations when forest fire emissions were included in the model calculations.

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References
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• . . . The emissions of the main pollutants produced during forest fires were then calculated and integrated in emission inventories of anthropogenic and natural occurring emissions (Aleksandropoulou and Lazaridis 2004). The quantification of emissions during forest fires was performed in the following steps: (1) estimation of the biomass burnt, (2) estimation of the total carbon emitted, (3) calculation of the emissions of carbon compounds (CO2, CH4, CO, NMHCs), (4) estimation of the total nitrogen emitted, (5) calculation of the emissions of nitrogen compounds, (6) calculation of the emissions of sulfur compounds (SO2), (7) estimation of the total suspended particulate matter (TSP) emitted, and (8) redistribution of the TSP regarding their size and chemical composition. The estimation of the burnt biomass is rather complicated as it depends on many parameters . . .
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• . . . Forest fires can affect the physicochemical properties of the atmosphere, via the release of significant amounts of particulate matter, which interact with solar radiation (Andreae 1991; Andreae and Merlet 2001; Holben et al. 1991; Pace et al. 2005; Trentmann et . . .
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• . . . According to the CORINAIR-1990 inventory, forest fires contribute 0.2% to the emissions of NO x , 0.5% to the emissions of nonmethane volatile organic compounds, 0.2% to the emissions of CH4, 1.9% to the emissions of CO, 1.2% to the emissions N2O, and 0.1% to the emissions of NH3 in Europe (EMEP/CORINAIR 2002) . . .
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• . . . Each year, the area burnt in Greece is larger than 10% of the total burnt forested area in South Europe (European Communities 2001) . . .
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• . . . Also, the forest fires were separated to study each fire as many hourly events depending on their duration. Initial and boundary conditions for the gaseous species were obtained from the NILU-CTM model (Flatøy et al. 2000) and on particulate matter from the EMEP model (ApSimon et al. 2001). Results and discussion Forest fire emissions The historical trend in wildfires in Greece is presented in Table 1 . . .
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• . . . An algorithm developed to account for these conditions is adopted in the current work (Gurer and Georgopoulos 2001). The model was applied over a domain (58 × 74 grid points of area 10 × 10 km2) which covers all of the Greek mainland, most of the islands, and parts of the contiguous countries with five vertical layers, two below and three above the diffusion break . . .
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• . . . However, the measured data showed an increased level of O3 which corresponds to the elevated PM levels observed by lidar on 13 July. Fig. 5 Calculated concentrations in the lowest model layer for the period 13–16 July 2000 over the GAA for two scenarios (scenario I, including all emission sources; scenario II, including only emissions from forest fires) for a CO and b PM10 In addition, the contribution of the forest fire emissions was calculated by comparison with simulations of gaseous and aerosol pollution levels in the eastern Mediterranean without the forest fire emissions, as performed by Lazaridis et al. (2005) and Spyridaki et al. (2006) . . .
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• . . . The simulations were carried out to quantify the contribution of the forest fire emissions to the ambient concentration of aerosols and gaseous pollutants. The UAM-AERO mesoscale model is a gas/aerosol air quality model that is based on the model UAM version IV (Lurmann et al. 1997) and it is designed to simulate the atmospheric processes governing ambient concentrations of both gaseous pollutants and particulate matter . . .
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• . . . Forest fires can affect the physicochemical properties of the atmosphere, via the release of significant amounts of particulate matter, which interact with solar radiation (Andreae 1991; Andreae and Merlet 2001; Holben et al. 1991; Pace et al. 2005; Trentmann et . . .
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• . . . In addition, the calculated concentrations in the lowest model layer for the period 13–16 July 2000 over the GAA for the two scenarios (scenario I, all emission sources included; scenario II, only forest fire emissions included) are presented In addition, laser range-resolved (lidar) measurements of the aerosol vertical profile were performed on 13 July 2000, over the GAA by a single backscattering system (Papayannis and Chourdakis 2002) at 532 nm (Fig. 3a) . . .
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• . . . Also, the forest fires were separated to study each fire as many hourly events depending on their duration. Initial and boundary conditions for the gaseous species were obtained from the NILU-CTM model (Flatøy et al. 2000) and on particulate matter from the EMEP model (ApSimon et al. 2001). Results and discussion Forest fire emissions The historical trend in wildfires in Greece is presented in Table 1 . . .
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• . . . The average molecular weight of NMHCs is assumed equal to 37 g/mol following the speciation of Radke et al. (1991): 35% C3H6, 30% C2H2, 16% C2H2, 14% C3H8, 5% n-C4H10 (by mass). The nitrogen compounds used in the present study is nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen protoxide, and ammonia . . .
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• . . . The spreading of the forest fire was assumed to follow an ellipsoidal pattern with the major axis along the wind direction and with the fire in one of the foci of the ellipse (e.g., Anderson et al. 1982; Andrews and Chase 1989; Arora and Boer 2005; Richards 1990) . . .
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• . . . Backtrajectories calculated using the HYSPLIT-4.6 code (Draxler and Rolph 2003; . . .
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• . . . Future climate warming may enhance the occurrence and impact of forest fires on regional air quality (Schar et al. 2004). Forest fire emissions can be important for local air pollution levels (IPCC 2007; Sandberg et al. 1978) . . .
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• . . . Forest fires can play a significant role in atmospheric chemistry and contribute to climate change (Luterbacher et al. 2004; MacCracken et al. 1986; Penner et al. 1991; Stohl et al. 2007; UCAR 1986) . . .
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• . . . The occurrence of large forest fires in the Greek mainland during this period is documented from air quality and lidar measurements and satellite images (Balis et al. 2003; Eleftheriadis et al. 2005; Sciare et . . .
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• . . . In particular, the amount of the dry biomass burnt (M in kilograms) is estimated after Seiler and Crutzen (1980): $$M = a \times b \times A \times B$$(1)where A is the area burnt (in square meters), B is the mean biomass quantity per area unit (in kilograms per square meter), a is the fraction of biomass above the surface, and b is the burning efficiency of the vegetation which exists above the ground . . .
• . . . The burnt biomass per area unit (in kilograms per square meter) has a value of 2.81 for Mediterranean forest, 2.40 for scrubland, and 0.36 for grassland (EMEP/CORINAIR 2002; Seiler and Crutzen 1980). The main carbon compounds emitted from a forest fire are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrocarbons . . .
50. Smolik J; Zdimal V; Schwarz J; Lazaridis M; Havranek V; Eleftheriadis K; Mihalopoulos N; Colbeck I Size resolved mass concentration and elemental composition of atmospheric aerosols over the eastern Mediterranean. Atmos Chem Phys 3:2207-2216 , (2003) .
• . . . The occurrence of large forest fires in the Greek mainland during this period is documented from air quality and lidar measurements and satellite images (Balis et al. 2003; Eleftheriadis et al. 2005; Sciare et . . .
51. Spyridaki A; Lazaridis M; Eleftheriadis K; Smolik J; Mihalopoulos N; Aleksandropoulou V Modelling and evaluation of size resolved aerosol characteristics in the Eastern Mediterranean during the SUB-AERO project. Atmos Environ 40, 6261-6275 (2006) .
• . . . In addition, several modifications were introduced in the UAM-AERO mesoscale model compared to the standard UAM-IV model, including new preprocessors for biogenic and natural emissions (Aleksandropoulou and Lazaridis 2004; Spyridaki et al. 2006), new deposition routines, and inorganic equilibrium chemistry module . . .
• . . . However, the measured data showed an increased level of O3 which corresponds to the elevated PM levels observed by lidar on 13 July. Fig. 5 Calculated concentrations in the lowest model layer for the period 13–16 July 2000 over the GAA for two scenarios (scenario I, including all emission sources; scenario II, including only emissions from forest fires) for a CO and b PM10 In addition, the contribution of the forest fire emissions was calculated by comparison with simulations of gaseous and aerosol pollution levels in the eastern Mediterranean without the forest fire emissions, as performed by Lazaridis et al. (2005) and Spyridaki et al. (2006) . . .
52. Sonoma Technology; Inc. (STI) User’s guide to the UAM-AERO model. STI Report 12/1996 , (1996) .
• . . . Particulate matter emissions, which are made up mainly of organic and elemental carbon, were chemically resolved after Lurmann et al. (1997). Model description and initialization/modeling approach In the current work, concentrations of aerosols and gaseous pollutants were modeled using the UAM-AERO mesoscale modeling system (STI 1996) . . .
53. Stohl A; Berg T; Burkhart JF; Fjǽraa AM; Forster C; Herber A; Hov Ø; Lunder C; McMillan WW; Oltmans S; Shiobara M; Simpson D; Solberg S; Stebel K; Ström J; Tørseth K; Treffeisen R; Virkkunen K; Yttri KE Arctic smoke—record high air pollution levels in the European Arctic due to agricultural fires in Eastern Europe in spring 2006. Atmos Chem Phys 7:511-534 , (2007) .
• . . . Forest fires can play a significant role in atmospheric chemistry and contribute to climate change (Luterbacher et al. 2004; MacCracken et al. 1986; Penner et al. 1991; Stohl et al. 2007; UCAR 1986) . . .
• . . . Stohl et al. (2007) showed that agricultural fires in Eastern Europe can significantly alter the air pollution levels in the European Arctic . . .
54. Sundqvist H Parameterization of condensation and associated clouds in models for weather prediction and general circulation simulations. In: Schlesinger ME (ed) Physically-based modelling and simulation of climate and climatic change, part I. Kluwer, Dordrecht 433-462, (1988) .
• . . . The cloud process extensions are developed at the University of Bergen and documented in Sundqvist (1998), Sundqvist et al. (1989), and Kvamstø (1992). Annular anthropogenic emission inventories for gaseous species and aerosols were derived from the UNECE/EMEP database (EMEP/CORINAIR 2002; Webdab 2002) . . .
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• . . . The cloud process extensions are developed at the University of Bergen and documented in Sundqvist (1998), Sundqvist et al. (1989), and Kvamstø (1992). Annular anthropogenic emission inventories for gaseous species and aerosols were derived from the UNECE/EMEP database (EMEP/CORINAIR 2002; Webdab 2002) . . .
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• . . . Forest fires can affect the physicochemical properties of the atmosphere, via the release of significant amounts of particulate matter, which interact with solar radiation (Andreae 1991; Andreae and Merlet 2001; Holben et al. 1991; Pace et al. 2005; Trentmann et . . .
57. Trozzi C; Vaccaro R; Piscitello R Emissions estimate from forest fires: methodology, software and European case studies. In: Proceedings of the 11th International Emission Inventory Conference, Atlanta, GA , (2002) .
• . . . The classification used in the present study is based on the studies of Seiler and Crutzen (1980) and EMEP/CORINAIR (2002) . . .
58. United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) AP-42, compilation of air pollutant emission factors: volume I: stationary point and area sources, 5th edn. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC , (1995) .
• . . . The mass of SO2 emitted (in kilograms) is estimated by: $$E_{\text{s}} = 1.6 \times 10^{ - 3} \times {\text{C}} = 0.72 \times 10^{ - 3} \times M.$$(6)Finally, the total mass of particulate matter emitted from forest fires (in kilograms) is found from: $$M_{{\text{TSP}}} = 0.0085 \times M$$(7)where 0.0085 is the mass fraction of total suspended particulate matter (TSP) of dry biomass (M in kilograms) (US EPA 1995) . . .
59. University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Global tropospheric chemistry: plans for the U.S. research effort. Office for Interdisciplinary Earth Studies, Boulder, CO , (1986) .
• . . . Forest fires can play a significant role in atmospheric chemistry and contribute to climate change (Luterbacher et al. 2004; MacCracken et al. 1986; Penner et al. 1991; Stohl et al. 2007; UCAR 1986) . . .
60. Webdab UNECE/EMEP WebDab emissions database 2002. Emissions as used in EMEP models. Emissions from Greece during 2000. Available at Link , (2002) .
• . . . The cloud process extensions are developed at the University of Bergen and documented in Sundqvist (1998), Sundqvist et al. (1989), and Kvamstø (1992). Annular anthropogenic emission inventories for gaseous species and aerosols were derived from the UNECE/EMEP database (EMEP/CORINAIR 2002; Webdab 2002) . . .
61. Weitkamp C Lidar: range-resolved optical remote sensing of the atmosphere. Springer, New York , (2005) .
• . . . Forest fires can affect the physicochemical properties of the atmosphere, via the release of significant amounts of particulate matter, which interact with solar radiation (Andreae 1991; Andreae and Merlet 2001; Holben et al. 1991; Pace et al. 2005; Trentmann et . . .
62. Xanthopoulos G The 1996 forest fire season. Int Forest Fire News. Bulletin No. 16 , (1997) .
• . . . Particulate matter emissions, which are made up mainly of organic and elemental carbon, were chemically resolved after Lurmann et al. (1997). Model description and initialization/modeling approach In the current work, concentrations of aerosols and gaseous pollutants were modeled using the UAM-AERO mesoscale modeling system (STI 1996) . . .
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