Progress and challenges in quantifying wildfire smoke emissions, their properties, transport and atmospheric impacts
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Irina N. Sokolik; Amber J. Soja; Paul J. DeMott; D. Winker
Publication Year: 2019

Cataloging Information

  • satellite observations
  • smoke aerosols
  • smoke impacts
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: February 13, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 58936


Wildfire is a natural and integral ecosystem process that is necessary to maintain species composition, structure and ecosystem function. Extreme fires have been increasing over the last decades, which has a substantial impact on air quality, human health, the environment, and climate systems. Smoke aerosols can be transported over large distances, acting as pollutants that affect adjacent and distant downwind communities and environments. Fire emissions are a complicated mixture of trace gases and aerosols, many of which are short‐lived and chemically reactive, and this mixture affects atmospheric composition in complex ways that are not completely understood. We present a review of the current state of knowledge of smoke aerosol emissions originating from wildfires. Satellite observations, from both passive and active instruments, are critical to providing the ability to view the large‐scale influence of fire, smoke, and their impacts. Progress in the development of fire emission estimates to regional and global chemical transport models has advanced, although significant challenges remain, such as connecting ecosystems and fuels burned with dependent atmospheric chemistry. Knowledge of the impact of smoke on radiation, clouds, and precipitation has progressed and is an essential topical research area. However, current measurements and parametrizations are not adequate to describe the impacts on clouds of smoke particles (e.g., CNN, INP) from fire emissions in the range of representative environmental conditions necessary to advance science or modeling. We conclude by providing recommendations to the community that we believe will advance the science and understanding of the impact of fire smoke emissions on human and environmental health, as well as feedbacks with climate systems.

Online Link(s):
Sokolik, Irina N.; Soja, Amber J.; DeMott, Paul J.; Winker, D. 2019. Progress and challenges in quantifying wildfire smoke emissions, their properties, transport and atmospheric impacts. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 124(23):13005-13025.