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Air quality impacts of European wildfire emissions in a changing climate

Knorr, Wolfgang LU ; Dentener, Frank; Hantson, Stijn; Jiang, Leiwen; Klimont, Zbigniew and Arneth, Almut LU (2016) In Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 16(9). p.5685-5703
Abstract

Wildfires are not only a threat to human property and a vital element of many ecosystems, but also an important source of air pollution. In this study, we first review the available evidence for a past or possible future climate-driven increase in wildfire emissions in Europe. We then introduce an ensemble of model simulations with a coupled wildfire-dynamic-ecosystem model, which we combine with published spatial maps of both wildfire and anthropogenic emissions of several major air pollutants to arrive at air pollutant emission projections for several time slices during the 21st century. The results indicate moderate wildfire-driven emission increases until 2050, but there is a possibility of large increases until the last decades of... (More)

Wildfires are not only a threat to human property and a vital element of many ecosystems, but also an important source of air pollution. In this study, we first review the available evidence for a past or possible future climate-driven increase in wildfire emissions in Europe. We then introduce an ensemble of model simulations with a coupled wildfire-dynamic-ecosystem model, which we combine with published spatial maps of both wildfire and anthropogenic emissions of several major air pollutants to arrive at air pollutant emission projections for several time slices during the 21st century. The results indicate moderate wildfire-driven emission increases until 2050, but there is a possibility of large increases until the last decades of this century at high levels of climate change. We identify southern and north-eastern Europe as potential areas where wildfires may surpass anthropogenic pollution sources during the summer months. Under a scenario of high levels of climate change (Representative Concentration Pathway, RCP, 8.5), emissions from wildfires in central and northern Portugal and possibly southern Italy and along the west coast of the Balkan peninsula are projected to reach levels that could affect annual mean particulate matter concentrations enough to be relevant for meeting WHO air quality targets.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
volume
16
issue
9
pages
19 pages
publisher
Copernicus Gesellschaft Mbh
external identifiers
  • scopus:84969834603
  • wos:000376938100013
ISSN
1680-7316
DOI
10.5194/acp-16-5685-2016
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c109f9a8-3180-4b3a-9253-045c41de9467
date added to LUP
2017-02-01 10:49:37
date last changed
2017-09-18 11:35:03
@article{c109f9a8-3180-4b3a-9253-045c41de9467,
  abstract     = {<p>Wildfires are not only a threat to human property and a vital element of many ecosystems, but also an important source of air pollution. In this study, we first review the available evidence for a past or possible future climate-driven increase in wildfire emissions in Europe. We then introduce an ensemble of model simulations with a coupled wildfire-dynamic-ecosystem model, which we combine with published spatial maps of both wildfire and anthropogenic emissions of several major air pollutants to arrive at air pollutant emission projections for several time slices during the 21st century. The results indicate moderate wildfire-driven emission increases until 2050, but there is a possibility of large increases until the last decades of this century at high levels of climate change. We identify southern and north-eastern Europe as potential areas where wildfires may surpass anthropogenic pollution sources during the summer months. Under a scenario of high levels of climate change (Representative Concentration Pathway, RCP, 8.5), emissions from wildfires in central and northern Portugal and possibly southern Italy and along the west coast of the Balkan peninsula are projected to reach levels that could affect annual mean particulate matter concentrations enough to be relevant for meeting WHO air quality targets.</p>},
  author       = {Knorr, Wolfgang and Dentener, Frank and Hantson, Stijn and Jiang, Leiwen and Klimont, Zbigniew and Arneth, Almut},
  issn         = {1680-7316},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  number       = {9},
  pages        = {5685--5703},
  publisher    = {Copernicus Gesellschaft Mbh},
  series       = {Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics},
  title        = {Air quality impacts of European wildfire emissions in a changing climate},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-5685-2016},
  volume       = {16},
  year         = {2016},
}