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PhD Proposal - Thishan Dharshana

Date: Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Time: 2:00 pm
Location: PHYS 401

Improving estimates of CO emissions from biomass burning using FRP and its applicability to atmospheric models.

Biomass burning is responsible for the second largest source of Carbon emissions that include Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and Methane (CH4) emissions. Despite the necessity of quantifying these emissions, a reliable and an efficient approach is unavailable. Hence, we are proposing a new approach, with the focus on CO, a trace gas where the remote sensing is well established and generated from a variety of satellite sensors. For comparison and validation purposes, ARCTAS field campaign is selected.

Despite the multi-sensor capability of several satellites, such as the Terra satellite that we are using at the primary stage of the analysis: MOPITT sensor to obtain CO data, MISR sensor for smoke plume height and MODIS sensor for FRP, there still remains constraints to be addressed. For example, MOPITT sensor is primarily sensitive only to the mid-troposphere so it is not capable of retrieving CO near the fire origin. However, when these high concentrations travel downwind and reach the altitude threshold sensitive to MOPITT, it is detectable by the MOPITT sensor. Throughout the transport, these CO fields move with visible smoke plumes detected by MISR. So, MODIS detected fire locations are connected to MISR detected smoke plumes, which in turn connected to MOPITT detected CO fields.

In applying the above methodology, GEOS-5 wind data will be used with WRF-Chem model to produce the forward transport and to link CO emissions from their sources to the current atmospheric distributions. Then to get the emission time frames, HYSPLITT back-trajectory analysis will be used. To validate the products, airborne measurements will be used with CO data from AQUA AIRS and AURA TES.