Articles | Volume 9, issue 12
Development and technical paper
15 Dec 2016
Development and technical paper |  | 15 Dec 2016

Daily black carbon emissions from fires in northern Eurasia for 2002–2015

Wei Min Hao, Alexander Petkov, Bryce L. Nordgren, Rachel E. Corley, Robin P. Silverstein, Shawn P. Urbanski, Nikolaos Evangeliou, Yves Balkanski, and Bradley L. Kinder

Abstract. Black carbon (BC) emitted from fires in northern Eurasia is transported and deposited on ice and snow in the Arctic and can accelerate its melting during certain times of the year. Thus, we developed a high spatial resolution (500 m  ×  500 m) dataset to examine daily BC emissions from fires in this region for 2002–2015. Black carbon emissions were estimated based on MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) land cover maps and detected burned areas, the Forest Inventory Survey of the Russian Federation, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Tier-1 Global Biomass Carbon Map for the year 2000, and vegetation specific BC emission factors. Annual BC emissions from northern Eurasian fires varied greatly, ranging from 0.39 Tg in 2010 to 1.82 Tg in 2015, with an average of 0.71 ± 0.37 Tg from 2002 to 2015. During the 14-year period, BC emissions from forest fires accounted for about two-thirds of the emissions, followed by grassland fires (18 %). Russia dominated the BC emissions from forest fires (92 %) and central and western Asia was the major region for BC emissions from grassland fires (54 %). Overall, Russia contributed 80 % of the total BC emissions from fires in northern Eurasia. Black carbon emissions were the highest in the years 2003, 2008, and 2012. Approximately 58 % of the BC emissions from fires occurred in spring, 31 % in summer, and 10 % in fall. The high emissions in spring also coincide with the most intense period of ice and snow melting in the Arctic.

Short summary
We developed the most comprehensive dataset of daily BC emissions from forest, grassland, shrubland, and savanna fires over northern Eurasia at a 500 m × 500 m resolution from 2002 to 2015. We examined the daily, seasonal, and interannual variability of BC emissions from fires in different ecosystems in the geopolitical regions of Russia, eastern Asia, central and western Asia, and Europe. The results are essential for modeling the transport and deposition of fire-emitted BC to the Arctic.