A satellite- and model-based assessment of the 2003 Russian fires:Impact on the Arctic region.
In this paper, we address the issues of the representation of boreal fires in a global chemistry and transport model (GEOS-Chem) as well as their contribution to the Arctic aerosol optical thickness and black carbon (BC) deposition, with a focus on the 2003 Russian fires. We use satellite observations from the MOPITT, POLDER and MODIS sensors to evaluate the model performances in simulating the fire pollution export over the North Pacific. Our results show that aerosol and carbon monoxide (CO) outflow is best reproduced in our model when fire emissions are increased to 72 Tg for CO, 0.5 Tg C for BC, and 5.3 Tg C for organic carbon over the entire fire season; prescribed on a daily basis; and injected up to 4.5 km in July and August. The use of daily, rather than monthly, biomass burning emission inventories improves significantly the representation of the aerosol outflow, but has little impact on CO. The injection of fire emissions above the boundary layer influences both the CO and aerosol columns but only during the late fire season. The model improvements with respect to the standard configuration induce an increase of a factor up to 2 on the aerosol optical thickness and the mass of BC deposited in the Northern Hemisphere. According to our improved simulation, the 2003 Russian fires contributed to 16–33% of the aerosol optical thickness and to 40–56% of the mass of BC deposited, north of 75°N in spring and summer. They contribute to the aerosol optical thickness by more than 30% during the days of Arctic haze events in spring and summer.