Exceptional wildfire enhancements of PAN, C2H4, CH3OH, and HCOOH over the Canadian high arctic during August 2017
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): T. Wizenberg; Kimberly Strong; Dylan B.A. Jones; Erik Lutsch; E. Mahieu; B. Franco; Lieven Clarisse
Publication Year: 2023

Cataloging Information

  • British Columbia
  • Canada
  • NWT - Northwest Territories
  • plume transport
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 26, 2023
FRAMES Record Number: 68114


Extreme enhancements in the total columns of carbon monoxide (CO), peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN), ethylene (C2H4), methanol (CH3OH), and formic acid (HCOOH) were observed over the Canadian high Arctic during the period of 17-22 August 2017 by a ground-based Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer at Eureka, Nunavut (80.05°N, 86.42°W), and by the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) satellite instruments. These enhancements have been attributed to wildfires in British Columbia (BC) and the Northwest Territories (NWT) of Canada, and represent the largest short-term perturbations of PAN, C2H4, and HCOOH above ambient concentrations over the 14-year (2006-2020) Eureka time-series. Enhancement ratios, emission ratios, and emission factors relative to CO were calculated for all species for both FTIR and IASI observations. The C2H4 and HCOOH emission factors are significantly larger than previous studies, suggesting unusually high emissions from these fires. The wildfire plumes were also simulated using the GEOS-Chem model. Initial GEOS-Chem simulations displayed a severe under-estimation relative to observations for these fire plumes resulting from the injection height scheme of the model. Sensitivity tests highlighted that injection heights of 12.5 km for BC (based on previous studies) and 10 km for the NWT fires yielded the strongest correlations with ground-based measurements. Applying these injection heights to the model significantly improves the simulated plume transport and agreement with ground- and space-based observations. GEOS-Chem was also used to estimate the magnitude of secondary in-plume production of CH3OH and HCOOH; it was found to be an important component ( ∼18%) of the enhanced HCOOH columns at Eureka.

Online Link(s):
Wizenberg, T.; Strong, Kimberly; Jones, Dylan B.A.; Lutsch, Erik; Mahieu, E.; Franco, B.; Clarisse, Lieven. 2023. Exceptional wildfire enhancements of PAN, C2H4, CH3OH, and HCOOH over the Canadian high arctic during August 2017. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 128(10):e2022JD038052.