Impact of the Great China Fire of 1987 on the Tropospheric Chemistry of East Asia

  • Mahesh J. Phadnis
  • Gregory R. Carmichael


There is a growing concern that biomass burning as a consequence of anthropogenic activities has significant impact on the atmospheric chemistry, climate and on the global biogeochemical cycles. Since the late seventies, when Crutzen et al. (1979) first proposed that the emissions of trace gases from biomass burning can make an important contribution to their budgets in the atmosphere, there has been an increase in the number of research activities in parts of the world with extensive biomass burning (Andreae, 1991). It is observed that biomass burning occurs mostly in the continental tropics coinciding with the local dry season (Crutzen et al., 1985). Trace gases such as carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), nitrogen oxides (NOx = NO + NO2) and non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) which are emitted from the burning fires play important roles in the production of ozone, thereby impacting the tropospheric photochemical oxidant cycle. Tropospheric ozone derived from satellite data is shown to be greater than 40 Dobson Units (DU) over southern Africa and tropical south Atlantic (Fishman et al., 1990; Fishman et al., 1991). Studies on the extent of the perturbation of this biomass signal on the composition of the atmosphere have been done in the past (Fishman et al., 1993). More recently, measurements were taken during the dry season of September-October 1992 in the Transport and Atmospheric Chemistry near the Equator (TRACE) Experiment (Fishman et al. 1996). The conclusions from this activity were that the widespread biomass burning in both South America and southern Africa is the dominant source of the precursor gases responsible for the huge amounts of ozone over the South Atlantic Ocean. Efforts in understanding the spatial and vertical distribution of the trace gases emitted from biomass burning have resulted in numerous insitu field campaigns and observational data. Measurements techniques such as satellite remote sensing, radiosondes and aircraft measurements are commonly being used to probe the atmosphere. On the other hand, synoptic-scale modeling of the influence of the fires on the atmosphere has been minimal, with the majority of work done in modeling the convective transport and redistribution of biomass burning emissions (Crutzen and Carmichael, 1993; Pickering et. al, 1996; Chatfield et. al, 1996).


Forest Fire Ozone Concentration Biomass Burning Lower Troposphere Atmospheric Chemistry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akimoto, H. and Narita, H., 1994, Distribution of SO2, NOx, and CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion and Industrial Activities in Asia with l°xl° Resolution., Atmos. Environ. 28(2), 213–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andreae, M. O., 1991, Biomass Burning: Its History, Use, and Distribution and Its Impact on Environmental Quality and Global Climate, in: Global Biomass Burning 3–21, J. S. Levine, ed., MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  3. Atkinson R., Baulch D. L., Cox R. A., Hampson R. F., Kerr, J. A. and Troe, J., 1989, Evaluated Kinetic and Photochemical Data for Atmospheric Chemistry: Supplement III, Int. J. Chem. Kin. 21:115–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cahoon D. R., Stocks B. J., Levine J. S., Cofer, W. R. and Pierson, J. M., 1994, Satellite analysis of the severe 1987 forest fires in northern China and southeastern Siberia, J. Geophys. Res. 99(D9): 18627–18638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cahoon, D. R. et al., 1991, The Great Chinese Fire of 1987: A View from Space, in: Global Biomass Burning 61–66, J. S. Levine, ed., MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  6. Carmichael, G. R., 1997, personal communications.Google Scholar
  7. Carmichael G. R., Peters, L. K. and Kitada, T., 1986, A second generation model for regional-scale transport/chemistry/deposition, Atmos. Environ. 20(1):173–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carmichael, G. R., Peters, L. K. and Saylor, R. D., 1991, The STEM-II regional scale acid deposition and photochemical oxidation model — I, An overview of model development and applications, Atmos. Environ. 25A(10):2077–2090.Google Scholar
  9. Carmichael G. R., Uno I., Phadnis M. J., Zhang, Y. and Sunwoo, Y., 1998, Tropospheric ozone production and transport in the springtime in east Asia., J. Geophys. Res. 103(D9):10649–10672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chatfield R. B., Vastano J. A., Singh, H. B. and Sachse, G., 1996, A general model of how fire emissions and chemistry produce African oceanic plumes (O3, CO, PAN, smoke) in TRACE A, J. Geophys. Res. 101(D19):24279–24306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crutzen, P. J. et al., 1979, Biomass burning as a source of atmospheric gases CO, H2, N2O, NO, CH3Cl and COS, Nature 282:253–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crutzen, P. J. and Andreae M. O., Biomass Burning in the Tropics: Impact on Atmospheric Chemistry and Biogeochemical Cycles, Science 250:1669–1678.Google Scholar
  13. Crutzen, P. J. and Carmichael, G. R., 1993, Modeling the Influence of Fires on Atmospheric Chemistry, in: Fire in the Environment: The Ecological, Atmospheric and Climatic Importance of Vegetation Fires 89–105, P. J. Crutzen and J. G. Goldammer, eds., John Wiley & Sons Ltd., New York.Google Scholar
  14. Crutzen, P. J. et al., 1985, Tropospheric Chemical Composition Measurements in Brazil During the Dry Season, J. Atmos. Chem. 2:233–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fishman J., Fakhruzzaman K., Cros, B. and Nganga, D., 1991, Identification of Widespread Pollution in the Southern Hemisphere Deduced from Satellite Analysis, Science 252:1693–1696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fishman J., Hoell J. M., Bendura R. D., McNeal, R. J. and Kirchoff, V. W. J. H., 1996, NASA GTE TRACE A Experiment (Septembet-October 1992): Overview, J. Geophys. Res. 101(D19):23865–23879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fishman J., Watson C. E., Larsen, J. C. and Logan, J. A., 1990, Distribution of Tropospheric Ozone Determined From Satellite Data, J. Geophys. Res. 95(D4):3599–3617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fishman, J. et al., 1993, Group Report: What is the Impact of Fires on Atmospheric Chemistry, Climate, and Biogeochemical Cycles?, in: Fire in the Environment: The Ecological, Atmospheric and Climatic Importance of Vegetation Fires 345–356,P. J. Crutzen and J. G. Goldammer, eds., John Wiley & Sons Ltd., New York.Google Scholar
  19. Fujita, S., 1992, Acid Deposition in Japan, in: Report of the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, Japan.Google Scholar
  20. Guenther, A. et al., 1995, A global model of natural volatile organic compound emissions, J. Geophys. Res. 100(D5):8873–8892.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Herman J., Bhartia P. K., Torres, O., Hsu, C., Seftor, C. and Celarier, E., 1997, Global distribution of UV-absorbing aerosols from Nimbus 7/TOMS data, J. Geophys. Res. 102(D14):16911–16922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kotamarthi, V. R. and Carmichael, G. R., 1990, The Long Range Transport of Pollutants in the Pacific Rim Region, Atmos. Environ. 24A (1990):1521–1534.Google Scholar
  23. Lobert, J. M. et al, 1991, Experimental evaluation of biomass burning emissions: Nitrogen and carbon containing compounds, in: Global Biomass Burning 289–404, J. S. Levine, ed., MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  24. Lurmann F., Lloyd, A. and Atkinson, A., 1986, A chemical mechanism for use in long range transport/acid deposition computer modeling, J. Geophys. Res. 91(D10):10905–10936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Piccot S. D., Watson, J. J. and Jones, J. W., 1992, A global inventory of volatile organic compounds emissions from anthropogenic sources, J. Geophys. Res. 97:9897–9912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pickering, K. E. et al., 1996, Convective transport of biomass burning emissions over Brazil during TRACE A, J. Geophys. Res. 101(D19):23993–24012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sandu A., Verwer J. G., Blom J. G., Spee E. J., Carmichael, G. R. and Potra, F. A., 1997, Benchmarking Stiff ODE Solvers for Atmospheric Chemistry Problems II: Rosenbrock Solvers, Atmos. Environ. 31:3459–3472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Zhang, Y., 1994, The chemical role of mineral aerosols in the troposphere in east Asia. Ph.D. Thesis, Dept. of Chem. & Biochem. Eng., Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahesh J. Phadnis
    • 1
  • Gregory R. Carmichael
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research & Department of Chemical and Biochemical EngineeringThe University of IowaIowa CityUSA

Personalised recommendations