The 2018 fire season in North America as seen by TROPOMI: aerosol layer height validation and evaluation of model-derived plume heights
by G. Griffin (Environment and Climate Change Change Canada), C. Sioris (Environment and Climate Change Change Canada), J. Chen (Environment and Climate Change Change Canada), N. Dickson (Environment and Climate Change Change Canada), A. Kovachik (Environment and Climate Change Change Canada)M. de Graaf (KNMI)S. Nanda (KNMI)J.P. Veefkind (KNMI)E. Dammers (Environment and Climate Change Change Canada)C.A. McLinden (Environment and Climate Change Change Canada)P. Makar (Environment and Climate Change Change Canada)
Before the launch of the TROPOspheric Moni- toring Instrument (TROPOMI), only two other satellite in- struments were able to observe aerosol plume heights glob- ally, the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP). The TROPOMI aerosol layer height is a poten- tial game changer, since it has daily global coverage, and the aerosol layer height retrieval is available in near real time. The aerosol layer height can be useful for aviation and air quality alerts, as well as for improving air quality fore- casting related to wildfires. Here, TROPOMI’s aerosol layer height product is evaluated with MISR and CALIOP obser- vations for wildfire plumes in North America for the 2018 fire season (June to August). Further, observing system sim- ulation experiments were performed to interpret the funda- mental differences between the different products. The re- sults show that MISR and TROPOMI are, in theory, very close for aerosol profiles with single plumes. For more com- plex profiles with multiple plumes, however, different plume heights are retrieved; the MISR plume height represents the top layer, and the plume height retrieved with TROPOMI tends to have an average altitude of several plume layers.
The comparison between TROPOMI and MISR plume heights shows that, on average, the TROPOMI aerosol layer heights are lower, by approximately 600m, compared to MISR, which is likely due to the different measurement techniques. From the comparison to CALIOP, our results show that the TROPOMI aerosol layer height is more accurate over dark surfaces, for thicker plumes, and plumes between ap- proximately 1 and 4.5 km.
MISR and TROPOMI are further used to evaluate the plume height of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s operational forecasting system FireWork with fire plume in- jection height estimates from the Canadian Forest Fire Emis- sions Prediction System (CFFEPS). The modelled plume heights are similar compared to the satellite observations but tend to be slightly higher with average differences of 270– 580 and 60–320 m compared to TROPOMI and MISR, re- spectively.
Griffin, G., C. Sioris, J. Chen, N. Dickson, A. Kovachik, M. de Graaf, S. Nanda, J.P. Veefkind, E. Dammers, C.A. McLinden and P. Makar, The 2018 fire season in North America as seen by TROPOMI: aerosol layer height validation and evaluation of model-derived plume heights