Kamthonkiat, D; Thanyapraneedkul, J; Nuengjumnong, N; Ninsawat, S; Unapumnuk, K; Vu, TT (2020). Identifying priority air pollution management areas during the burning season in Nan Province, Northern Thailand. ENVIRONMENT DEVELOPMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY.

In northern Thailand, biomass burning is a major source of high concentrations of particulate matter with a diameter < 10 mu m (PM10) during the burning season (January to May), leading to health concerns related to air pollution. Given the limited staffing and budget available to local agencies, identifying priority areas for management and mitigation is important. We herein developed an empirical model using Landsat 8 imagery and PM(10)data from ground stations to estimate PM(10)concentrations in Nan Province, achieving an error of < 20% between the predicted and measured PM(10)values. The satellite-derived values were then classified into five air quality levels based on criteria defined by the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. These levels were correlated with land use/land cover maps and fire hotspots with high confidence (> 80%) acquired by the Terra and Aqua satellites from January to May 2015-2019. Fire hotspots and problematic PM(10)concentrations were most often correlated with agricultural land, followed by disturbed forests and dense forests. These results enabled us to identify critical areas where repeat burning and high PM(10)levels should by prioritized for mitigation, such as the upland agricultural and forest areas of Wiang Sa District. Our methodology could benefit air pollution management in other developing countries with similar limitations.