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Indonesian peat and vegetation fire emissions: Study on factors influencing large-scale smoke haze pollution using a regional atmospheric chemistry model

Abstract

Numerical modelling of fire-related smoke haze episodes in Southeast Asia is important for both prediction and assessment of atmospheric impacts, especially when observational data are fragmentary, as is the case in Indonesia. This work describes the atmospheric fate of smoke particles emitted during the 1997 Indonesian fires modelled with a regional atmospheric chemistry model. We established a new fire emission inventory and calculate that 55 teragram (Tg) of particulate matter and 1098 Tg of carbon were released during this fire episode. Our emission estimate is an intermediate value compared with other studies. Utilising different scenarios, we demonstrate the variable atmospheric impacts of surface vegetation fires and peat soil fires separately and also investigate the sensitivity of smoke dispersion to the differing meteorological conditions of an El Niño and a normal year. When peat fires are included in the emission inventory, modelled ambient particle concentrations exceed the ambient air quality standard across transboundary scales. In a scenario including only surface vegetation fires, ambient air quality standards are exceeded only in areas close to the main fires. This scenario demonstrates the prominent role of fires in peat areas in causing regional air pollution episodes. In years with normal meteorological conditions, intermittent precipitation and associated wet deposition during the dry season are predicted to remove most of the particulate emissions close to the sources. Strongly reduced rainfall and generally stronger southeasterly winds during El Niño years provide favourable conditions for larger scale smoke haze pollution.

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Heil, A., Langmann, B. & Aldrian, E. Indonesian peat and vegetation fire emissions: Study on factors influencing large-scale smoke haze pollution using a regional atmospheric chemistry model. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change 12, 113–133 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11027-006-9045-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11027-006-9045-6

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • El Niño
  • Regional atmospheric chemistry model
  • Smoke dispersion
  • Southeast Asia
  • Vegetation and peat fires