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Satellite monitoring for carbon monoxide and particulate matter during forest fire episodes in Northern Thailand

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This study explored the use of satellite data to monitor carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM) in Northern Thailand during the dry season when forest fires are known to be an important cause of air pollution. Satellite data, including Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) CO, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aerosol optical depth (MODIS AOD), and MODIS fire hotspots, were analyzed with air pollution data measured at nine automatic air quality monitoring stations in the study area for February–April months of 2008–2010. The correlation analysis showed that daily CO and PM with size below 10 μm (PM10) were associated with the forest fire hotspot counts, especially in the rural areas with the maximum correlation coefficient (R) of 0.59 for CO and 0.65 for PM10. The correlations between MODIS AOD and PM10, between MOPITT CO and CO, and between MODIS AOD and MOPITT CO were also analyzed, confirming the association between these variables. Two forest fire episodes were selected, and the dispersion of pollution plumes was studied using the MOPITT CO total column and MODIS AOD data, together with the surface wind vectors. The results showed consistency between the plume dispersion, locations of dense hotspots, ground monitoring data, and prevalent winds. The satellite data were shown to be useful in monitoring the regional transport of forest fire plumes.

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The authors would like to thank the Pollution Control Department (PCD) of Thailand for providing the air quality data. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are especially acknowledged for the readily available MOPITT data, MODIS data, and fire data (from the Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS)). The authors also wish to thank the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) for the wind data. Air quality team at AIT is specially thanked for their assistance during the course of this study.

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Correspondence to Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh.

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Sukitpaneenit, M., Kim Oanh, N.T. Satellite monitoring for carbon monoxide and particulate matter during forest fire episodes in Northern Thailand. Environ Monit Assess 186, 2495–2504 (2014).

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