Articles | Volume 9, issue 11
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 5591–5606, 2016
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 5591–5606, 2016

Research article 23 Nov 2016

Research article | 23 Nov 2016

Impact of biomass burning emission on total peroxy nitrates: fire plume identification during the BORTAS campaign

Eleonora Aruffo1,2, Fabio Biancofiore1, Piero Di Carlo1,2,a, Marcella Busilacchio1, Marco Verdecchia1,2, Barbara Tomassetti1,2, Cesare Dari-Salisburgo1, Franco Giammaria1, Stephane Bauguitte3, James Lee4, Sarah Moller4, James Hopkins4, Shalini Punjabi4, Stephen J. Andrews4, Alistair C. Lewis4, Paul I. Palmer5, Edward Hyer6, Michael Le Breton7, and Carl Percival7 Eleonora Aruffo et al.
  • 1Center of Excellence CETEMPS, Universita' dell'Aquila, Via Vetoio, Coppito, L'Aquila, Italy
  • 2Department of Physical and Chemical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Coppito L'Aquila, Italy
  • 3Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements, Bedfordshire, UK
  • 4Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, UK
  • 5School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • 6Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California, USA
  • 7The Centre for Atmospheric Science, School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  • anow at: Department of Psychological, Health and Territorial Sciences, University “G. d'Annunzio”, Chieti-Pescara, Italy

Abstract. Total peroxy nitrate (  PN) concentrations have been measured using a thermal dissociation laser-induced fluorescence (TD-LIF) instrument during the BORTAS campaign, which focused on the impact of boreal biomass burning (BB) emissions on air quality in the Northern Hemisphere. The strong correlation observed between the   PN concentrations and those of carbon monoxide (CO), a well-known pyrogenic tracer, suggests the possible use of the   PN concentrations as marker of the BB plumes. Two methods for the identification of BB plumes have been applied: (1)   PN concentrations higher than 6 times the standard deviation above the background and (2)   PN concentrations higher than the 99th percentile of the   PNs measured during a background flight (B625); then we compared the percentage of BB plume selected using these methods with the percentage evaluated, applying the approaches usually used in literature. Moreover, adding the pressure threshold ( ∼  750 hPa) as ancillary parameter to   PNs, hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and CO, the BB plume identification is improved. A recurrent artificial neural network (ANN) model was adapted to simulate the concentrations of   PNs and HCN, including nitrogen oxide (NO), acetonitrile (CH3CN), CO, ozone (O3) and atmospheric pressure as input parameters, to verify the specific role of these input data to better identify BB plumes.

Short summary
During the BORTAS aircraft campaign, we measured NO2 and their oxidtation products (as peroxy nitrates) with a custom laser-induced fluorescence instrument. Because of the high correlation between known pyrogenic tracers (i.e., carbon monoxide) and peroxy nitrates, we provide two methods to use these species for the identification of biomass burning (BB) plumes. Using an artifical neural network, we improved the BB identification taking into account of a meteorological parameter (pressure).