Impacts of Biomass Burning Emissions on Tropospheric NO2 Vertical Column Density over Continental Southeast Asia

  • Syuichi Itahashi
  • Itsushi Uno
  • Hitoshi Irie
  • Jun-Ichi Kurokawa
  • Toshimasa Ohara
Part of the Springer Remote Sensing/Photogrammetry book series (SPRINGERREMO)


The behavior of tropospheric NO2 vertical column density (VCD) over continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) was systematically analyzed using observations from the SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY) and a regional chemical transport model (CTM) during 2003–2008. NO2 VCD over continental Southeast Asia showed a distinctive large peak from winter (December) to early spring (April). The regional CTM was configured with anthropogenic emissions taken from the Regional Emission inventory in Asia (REAS) version 2.1 and biomass burning emissions taken from the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED) version 3.1. Overall, the model could reproduce the NO2 VCD observed by space-borne sensors. A mismatch between satellite observations and the regional CTM was found only in January over Cambodia. A likely reason for this mismatch was diurnal variation in biomass burning emissions. During the analysis period, the largest biomass burning event was reported from December 2003 to April 2004, and a sensitivity analysis was conducted by omitting the biomass burning emissions in the CTM. It was found that the seasonal variations of NO2 VCD, with the peak during winter to early spring, were caused by biomass burning emissions in all countries in continental Southeast Asia. The contribution of biomass burning emissions to NO2 VCD over continental Southeast Asia was an average of 28% during this period and a maximum of 58% in March 2004.


Biomass burning emissions NO2 SCIAMACHY Regional transport model Southeast Asia 



We thank Dr. Krishna P. Vadrevu, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, USA, for inviting us to contribute this article. We acknowledge the free use of tropospheric NO2 column data from the SCIAMACHY sensor ( This work was partly supported by the Global Environment Research Fund (No. S-12) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.


  1. Badarinath KVS, Kharol SK, Latha KM, Chand TR, Prasad VK, Jyothsna AN, Samatha K (2007) Multiyear ground-based and satellite observations of aerosol properties over a tropical urban area in India. Atmos Sci Lett 8(1):7–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Badarinath KVS, Kharol SK, Krishna Prasad V, Kaskaoutis DG, Kambezidis HD (2008) Variation in aerosol properties over Hyderabad, India during intense cyclonic conditions. Int J Remote Sens 29(15):4575–4597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Badarinath KVS, Sharma AR, Kharol SK, Prasad VK (2009) Variations in CO, O3 and black carbon aerosol mass concentrations associated with planetary boundary layer (PBL) over tropical urban environment in India. J Atmos Chem 62(1):73–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Biswas S, Vadrevu KP, Lwin ZM, Lasko K, Justice CO (2015) Factors controlling vegetation fires in protected and non-protected areas of Myanmar. PLoS One 10(4):e0124346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boersma KF, Eskes HJ, Brinksma EJ (2004) Error analysis for tropospheric NO2 retrieval from space. J Geophys Res 109:D04311. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boersma KF, Eskes HJ, Dirksen RJ, van der A RJ, Veefkind JP, Stammes P, Huijnen V, Kleipool QL, Sneep M, Claas J, Leitao J, Richter A, Zhou Y, Brunner D (2011) An improved tropospheric NO2 column retrieval algorithm for the Ozone Monitoring Instrument. Atmos Meas Tech 4:1905–1928CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Byun DW, Schere KL (2006) Review of the governing equations, computational algorithms, and other components of the Model-3 Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) modeling system. Appl Mech Rev 59:51–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chan LY, Chan CY, Liu HY, Christopher S, Oltmans SJ, Harris JM (2000) A case study on the biomass burning in Southeast Asia and enhancement of tropospheric ozone over Hong Kong. Geophys Res Lett 27(10):1479–1482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chang D, Song Y (2010) Estimates of biomass burning emissions in the tropical Asia based on satellite-derived data. Atmos Chem Phys 10:2335–2351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crutzen PJ, Andreae MO (1990) Biomass burning in the tropics: impact on atmospheric chemistry and biogeochemical cycles. Science 250:1669–1678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. EANET (2014) Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia, Data Report.
  12. Fu JS, Hsu NC, Huang K, Li C, Liu N–H, Tsay S–C (2012) Evaluating the influences of biomass burning during 2006 BASE-ASIA: a regional chemical transport model. Atmos Chem Phys 12:3837–3855CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Giglio L (2007) Characterization of the tropical diurnal fire cycle using VIRS and MODIS observation. Remote Sens Environ 108:407–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Giglio L, Randerson JT, van der Werf GR (2013) Analysis of daily, monthly, and annual burned area using the fourth-generation global fire emissions database (GFED4). J Geophys Res Biogeosci 118:317–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Han KM, Song CH, Ahn HJ, Park RS, Woo JH, Lee CK, Richter A, Burrows JP, Kim YJ, Hong JH (2009) Investigation of NOx emissions and NOx-related chemistry in East Asia using CMAQ-predicted and GOME-derived NO2 columns. Atmos Chem Phys 9:1017–1036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hao WM, Liu MH (1994) Spatial and temporal distribution of tropical biomass burning. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 8(4):495–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hayasaka H, Noguchi I, Putra EI, Yulianti N, Vadrevu K (2014) Peat-fire-related air pollution in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Environ Pollut 195:257–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Irie H, Boersma KF, Kanaya Y, Takashima H, Pan X, Wang ZF (2012) Quantitative bias estimates for tropospheric NO2 columns retrieved from SCIAMACHY, OMI, and GOME-2 using a common standard. Atmos Meas Tech 5:2403–2411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Itahashi S, Uno I, Yumimoto K, Irie H, Osada K, Ogata K, Fukushima H, Wang Z, Ohara T (2012) Interannual variation in the fine-mode MODIS aerosol optical depth and its relationship to the changes in sulfur dioxide emissions in China between 2000 and 2010. Atmos Chem Phys 12:2631–2640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Itahashi S, Uno I, Irie H, Kurokawa J-I, Ohara T (2014) Regional modeling of tropospheric NO2 vertical column density over East Asia during the period 2000-2010: comparison with multisatellite observations. Atmos Chem Phys 14:3623–3635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jian Y, Fu T-M (2014) Injection heights of springtime biomass-burning plumes over peninsular Southeast Asia and their impacts on long-range pollutant transport. Atmos Chem Phys 14:3977–3989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kurokawa J, Ohara T, Morikawa T, Hanayama S, Janssens-Meanhour G, Fukui T, Kawashima K, Akimoto H (2013) Emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases over Asian regions during 2000–2008: regional emission inventory in ASia (REAS) version 2. Atmos Chem Phys 13:11019–11058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lalitaporn P, Kurata G, Matsuoka Y, Thongboonchoo N, Surapipith V (2013) Long-term analysis of NO2, CO, and AOD seasonal variability using satellite observations over Asia and intercomparison with emission inventories and model. Air Qual Atmos Health 6:655–672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lamsal LN, Martin RV, Padmanabhan A, van Donkelaar A, Zhang Q, Sioris CE, Chance K, Kurosu TP, Newchurch MJ (2011) Application of satellite observations for timely updates to global anthropogenic NOx emission inventory. Geophys Res Lett 38:L05810. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Le TH, Nguyen TNT, Lasko K, Ilavajhala S, Vadrevu KP, Justice C (2014) Vegetation fires and air pollution in Vietnam. Environ Pollut 195:267–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lin N-H, Tsay SC, Maring HB (2013) An overview of regional experiments on biomass burning aerosols and related pollutants in Southeast Asia: from BASE-ASIA and the Dongsha Experiment to 7-SEAS. Atmos Environ 78:1–19, 2013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lu Z, Streets DG, Zhang Q, Wang S, Carmichael GR, Cheng YF, Wei C, Chin M, Diehl T, Tan Q (2010) Sulfur dioxide emissions in China and sulfur trends in East Asia since 2000. Atmos Chem Phys 10:6311–6331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ohara T, Akimoto H, Kurokawa J, Horii N, Yamaji K, Yan X, Hayasaka T (2007) Asian emission inventory for anthropogenic emission sources during the period 1980–2020. Atmos Chem Phys 7:4419–4444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Prasad VK, Kant Y, Gupta PK, Elvidge C, Badarinath KVS (2002) Biomass burning and related trace gas emissions from tropical dry deciduous forests of India: a study using DMSP-OLS data and ground-based measurements. Int J Remote Sens 23(14):2837–2851CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Prasad VK, Lata M, Badarinath KVS (2003) Trace gas emissions from biomass burning from northeast region in India—Estimates from satellite remote sensing data and GIS. Environmentalist 23(3):229–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Reid JS, Hyer EJ, Johnson RS et al (2013) Observing and understanding the Southeast Asian aerosol system by remote sensing: an initial review and analysis for the Seven Southeast Asian Studies (7SEAS) program. Atmos Res 122:403–468, 2013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schneider P, van der A RJ (2012) A global single-sensor analysis of 2002–2011 tropospheric nitrogen dioxide trends observed from space. J Geophys Res 117:D16309. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Streets DG, Yarber KF, Woo J-H, Carmichael GR (2003) Biomass burning in Asia. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 17(4):1099. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tsay S-C, Hsu NC, Lau WK-M (2013) From BASE-ASIA toward 7-SEAS: 2013. A satellite-surface perspective of boreal spring biomass-burning aerosols and clouds in Southeast Asia, Atmos. Environment 78:20–34Google Scholar
  35. Uno I, He Y, Ohara T, Yamaji K, Kurokawa J, Katayama M, Wang Z, Noguchi K, Hayashida S, Richter A, Burrows JP (2007) Systematic analysis of interannual and seasonal variations of model-simulated tropospheric NO2 in Asia and comparison with GOME-satellite data. Atmos Chem Phys 7:1671–1681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Vadrevu KP, Justice CO (2011) Vegetation fires in the Asian region: satellite observational needs and priorities. Global Environ Res 15:65–76Google Scholar
  37. Vadrevu KP, Ellicott E, Badarinath KVS, Vermote E (2011) MODIS derived fire characteristics and aerosol optical depth variations during the agricultural residue burning season, north India. Environ Pollut 159(6):1560-1569Google Scholar
  38. Vadrevu KP, Giglio L, Justice C (2013) Satellite based analysis of fire–carbon monoxide relationships from forest and agricultural residue burning (2003–2011). Atmos Environ 64:179–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vadrevu KP, Lasko K, Giglio L, Justice C (2014) Analysis of Southeast Asian pollution episode during June 2013 using satellite remote sensing datasets. Environ Pollut 195:245–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vadrevu KP, Lasko K, Giglio L, Justice C (2015) Vegetation fires, absorbing aerosols and smoke plume characteristics in diverse biomass burning regions of Asia. Environ Res Lett 10(10):105003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. van der Werf GR, Randerson JT, Giglio L, Collatz GJ, Mu M, Kashibhatla PS, Morton DC, DeFries RS, Jin Y, van Leeuwen TT (2010) Global fire emissions and the contribution of deforestation, savanna, forest, agricultural, and peat fires (1997–2009). Atmos Chem Phys 10:11707–11735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Vay SA, Choi Y, Vadrevu KP, Blake DR, Tyler SC, Wisthaler A, Hecobian A, Kondo Y, Diskin GS, Sachse GW, Woo JH (2011) Patterns of CO2 and radiocarbon across high northern latitudes during International Polar Year 2008. J Geophys Res Atmos 116(D14)Google Scholar
  43. Yumimoto K, Uno I, Itahashi S (2015) Long-term inverse modeling of Chinese CO emission from satellite observations. Environ Pollut 195:308–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Syuichi Itahashi
    • 1
  • Itsushi Uno
    • 2
  • Hitoshi Irie
    • 3
  • Jun-Ichi Kurokawa
    • 4
  • Toshimasa Ohara
    • 5
  1. 1.Environmental Science Research LaboratoryCentral Research Institute of Electric Power IndustryChibaJapan
  2. 2.Research Institute for Applied MechanicsKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  3. 3.Center for Environmental Remote SensingChiba UniversityChibaJapan
  4. 4.Asia Center for Air Pollution ResearchNiigataJapan
  5. 5.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan

Personalised recommendations