Meyer, CP, Luhar, AK, Mitchell, RM (2008). Biomass burning emissions over northern Australia constrained by aerosol measurements: I-Modelling the distribution of hourly emissions. ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT, 42(7), 1629-1646.
Emissions of aerosol from biomass burning in northern Australia are globally significant, yet existing estimates of their magnitude are essentially unconstrained by observation. This two-part series (see Part II by Luhar et al. [2008. Biomass burning emissions over northern Australia constrained by aerosol measurements: II-Model validation, and impacts on air quality and radiative forcing. Atmospheric Environment, submitted for publication] seeks to address this by first formulating a scheme to determine the emissions from the Top End region of the Northern Territory during the 2004 burning season at a high temporal and spatial resolution (1 h, 1 km). The emissions are then validated using a meteorological and transport model called TAPM coupled with a variety of field measurements. The high resolution not only enables validation against various meteorological and aerosol data sets, but also allows prediction of local air quality events. Essential inputs to the emission calculations are satellite-based measurements of fire scars, yielding burnt areas, and hotspots, providing timing information on daily basis. It is shown that hotspots without associated fire scars must be taken into account in order to produce credible aerosol fields. Prediction of emissions at hourly time resolution is enabled by assigning a diurnal variation based on a McArthur fire danger meter. The total carbon emission for the 2004 season is computed to be 67.6 Tg, in remarkable agreement with the bulk estimate of 64.3 Tg derived for the Australian National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and comparable to the figure of 57.0 Tg determined from the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFEDv2). The total PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 mu m or less) emission is computed to be 0.67 Tg. The transport modelling shows that emissions leaving the study region are largely advected to the west over the Timor Sea towards the Indonesian archipelago from April to September, shifting to the south-west during October-November where they enhance the aerosol loading over Western Australia. Crown Copyright (C) 2007 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.