1 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.

Mentions
Figures
Figure 1: Satellite picture of the geographical extent of smoke originating mainly from forest fires at the northern Peloponnesus (Greece) (NOAA-14) on 13 July 2000 (14:42 UTC). Circles depict the areas where forest fire events (single or more than one) occurred Figure 2: Observed a NO2 and b O3 concentrations at the surface at an urban and a suburban measurement site in the GAA. 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 Figure 3: Aerosol vertical profile (aerosol backscatter coefficient) obtained by a single elastic lidar system at 532 nm over Athens between 15:00 and 17:00 UT 13 July 2000. b Calculated PM10 vertical profile 16:00–19:00 UT above the Athens metropolitan area resulted (scenario II, forest fire emissions only) Figure 4: Backtrajectories calculated using the HYSPLIT-4.6 code for air masses ending at 15:00 UT 3 km above GAA 13 July 2000 Figure 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 Figure 6: The concentration of particulate organic matter in the lowest model layer in micrograms per cubic meter at 1 a.m. on 14 July 2000 with only forest fire emissions included (scenario II) Figure 7: The concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the lowest model layer in micrograms per cubic meter at 1 a.m. on 14 July 2000 with only forest fire emissions included (scenario II) Figure 8: The concentration in parts per billion of a NO2, b NH3, and c CO at 1 a.m. on 13 July 2000 in scenario II (forest fire emissions only) Figure 9: Calculated concentrations of a PM2.5 and b CO on 13 July 2000 (15:00 UTC) in the lowest model layer for scenario II (forest fire emissions only) Figure 10: Contribution (percentage) of forest fires to the surface CO concentration on 13 July at 18:00 p.m. Figure 11: Calculated contribution (percentage) of forest fire emissions to the concentrations in the surface layer on 13 July at 18:00 p.m. for PM10 Figure 12: Comparison of average PM10 size distributions in the surface layer on 13 July (13:00 UTC) in the Athens metropolitan area calculated without forest fire emissions and including all emissions (scenario I–total)
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References
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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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    • . . . 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 . . .
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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 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) . . .
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    • . . . 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) . . .
  55. Sundqvist H; Berge E; Kristjanson JE Condensation and cloud parameterization studies with a mesoscale NWP model. Mon Weather Rev 117, 1641-1657 (1989) .
    • . . . 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) . . .
  56. Trentmann J; Yokelson RJ; Hobbs PV; Winterrath T; Christian TJ; Andreae O; Mason SA An analysis of the chemical processes in the smoke plume from a savanna fire. J Geophys Res 110:D12301 , (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 . . .
  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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