A new predictive framework for Amazon forest fire smoke dispersion over South America

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  • 1 Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies, National Institute for Space Research, Cachoeira Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil
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Abstract

Aerosol particles from forest fire events in the Amazon can be effectively transported to urban areas in southeastern South America, thus affecting the air quality over those regions. A combination of observational data and a comprehensive air quality modeling system capable of anticipating acute air pollution episodes is therefore required. A new predictive framework for Amazon forest fire smoke dispersion over South America has been developed based on the Weather Research and Forecasting with Chemistry community (WRF-Chem) model. Two experiments of 48-hour simulations over South America were performed by using this system at 20 km horizontal resolution, on a daily basis, during August and September of 2018 and 2019. The experiment in 2019 included the very strong 3-week forest fire event, when the São Paulo Metropolitan Area, located in southeastern South America, was plunged into darkness on August 19. The model results were satisfactorily compared against satellite-based data products and in situ measurements collected from air quality monitoring sites. The system is executed daily immediately after the CPTEC Satellite Division releases the latest active fire locations data and provides 48-hour forecasts of regional distributions of chemical species such as CO, PM2.5 and O3. The new modeling system will be used as a benchmark within the framework of the Chemistry of the Atmosphere - Field Experiment in Brazil (CAFE-Brazil) project, which will take place in 2022 over the Amazon.

Corresponding author: Dirceu L. Herdies, Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies (CPTEC), National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Rodovia Presidente Dutra, km 40, Cachoeira Paulista, SP, Brazil, 12630-000. E-mail: dirceu.herdies@inpe.br, dherdies@gmail.com

Abstract

Aerosol particles from forest fire events in the Amazon can be effectively transported to urban areas in southeastern South America, thus affecting the air quality over those regions. A combination of observational data and a comprehensive air quality modeling system capable of anticipating acute air pollution episodes is therefore required. A new predictive framework for Amazon forest fire smoke dispersion over South America has been developed based on the Weather Research and Forecasting with Chemistry community (WRF-Chem) model. Two experiments of 48-hour simulations over South America were performed by using this system at 20 km horizontal resolution, on a daily basis, during August and September of 2018 and 2019. The experiment in 2019 included the very strong 3-week forest fire event, when the São Paulo Metropolitan Area, located in southeastern South America, was plunged into darkness on August 19. The model results were satisfactorily compared against satellite-based data products and in situ measurements collected from air quality monitoring sites. The system is executed daily immediately after the CPTEC Satellite Division releases the latest active fire locations data and provides 48-hour forecasts of regional distributions of chemical species such as CO, PM2.5 and O3. The new modeling system will be used as a benchmark within the framework of the Chemistry of the Atmosphere - Field Experiment in Brazil (CAFE-Brazil) project, which will take place in 2022 over the Amazon.

Corresponding author: Dirceu L. Herdies, Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies (CPTEC), National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Rodovia Presidente Dutra, km 40, Cachoeira Paulista, SP, Brazil, 12630-000. E-mail: dirceu.herdies@inpe.br, dherdies@gmail.com
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