Unprecedented atmospheric ammonia concentrations detected in the high Arctic from the 2017 Canadian wildfires
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Erik Lutsch; Kimberly Strong; Dylan B.A. Jones; Ivan Ortega; James W. Hannigan; Enrico Dammers; Mark W. Shephard; Eleanor Morris; Killian Murphy; Mathew J. Evans; Mark Parrington; Simon Whitburn; Martin Van Damme; Lieven Clarisse; Pierre-Francois Coheur; Cathy Clerbaux; Betty Croft; Randall V. Martin; Jeffrey R. Pierce; Jenny A. Fisher
Publication Year: 2019

Cataloging Information

  • ammonia
  • arctic
  • Canada
  • FTIR - Fourier transform infrared absorption spectroscopy
  • Greenland
  • MODIS - Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
  • wildfires
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: September 5, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 58237


From 17-22 August 2017 simultaneous enhancements of ammonia (NH3), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), and ethane (C2H6) were detected from ground‐based solar absorption Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopic measurements at two high‐Arctic sites: Eureka (80.05°N, 86.42°W) Nunavut, Canada and Thule (76.53°N, 68.74°W), Greenland. These enhancements were attributed to wildfires in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories of Canada using FLEXPART back‐trajectories and fire locations from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and found to be the greatest observed enhancements in more than a decade of measurements at Eureka (2006‐2017) and Thule (1999‐2017). Observations of gas‐phase NH3 from these wildfires illustrates that boreal wildfires may be a considerable episodic source of NH3 in the summertime high Arctic. Comparisons of GEOS‐Chem model simulations using the Global Fire Assimilation System (GFASv1.2) biomass burning emissions to FTIR measurements and Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) measurements showed that the transport of wildfire emissions to the Arctic was underestimated in GEOS‐Chem. However, GEOS‐Chem simulations showed that these wildfires contributed to surface‐layer NH3 and NH4+ enhancements of 0.01‐0.11 ppbv and 0.05‐1.07 ppbv, respectively, over the Canadian Archipelago from 15-23 August 2017.

Online Link(s):
Lutsch, Erik; Strong, Kimberly; Jones, Dylan B.A.; Ortega, Ivan; Hannigan, James W.; Dammers, Enrico; Shephard, Mark W.; Morris, Eleanor; Murphy, Killian; Evans, Mathew J.; Parrington, Mark; Whitburn, Simon; Van Damme, Martin; Clarisse, Lieven; Coheur, Pierre‐Francois; Clerbaux, Cathy; Croft, Betty; Martin, Randall V.; Pierce, Jeffrey R.; Fisher, Jenny A. 2019. Unprecedented atmospheric ammonia concentrations detected in the high Arctic from the 2017 Canadian wildfires. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 124(14):8178-8202.