Week 4 – Long Range Pollution Transport
This week looks at the atmospheric transport of aerosols, volcanic emissions and emissions from wildfires.
Transport of pollution in the atmosphere is caused by time-averaged wind flow.
How far air pollutants are transported mainly depends upon particle size of the compounds and the height the pollution was emitted into the air.
In this video Seppo Hassinen talks us through AC SAF (Atmospheric Composition Satellite Application Facility), which is part of the EUMETSAT Application Ground Segment.
As you saw in 4b part 1, aerosols can be emitted from natural sources, these include desert dust, volcanic ash and sea salt, or they can be emitted from anthropogenic sources, which include biomass burning, vehicle emissions, and industrial processes.
Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites will be crucial to volcanic ash monitoring, with their higher resolution imagery and new infrared sounding capabilities.
Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) have specialist forecasters who produce volcanic ash advisories and guidance products using a combination of volcano data; satellite-based, ground-based and aircraft observations; weather forecast models and dispersion models.
Fires and biomass burning can be identified from space in real time. The ‘D-Fire’ sub project in the Copernicus programme provides global emissions from biomass burning to the public and MACC (Monitoring Atmospheric Composition & Climate) services using real time and retrospectively from satellite-based observations of open fires.
Wildfires have been getting worse in recent years due to human activity. In California for example, 2017 was the worst season ever for wildfires. There were a recorded 9,133 fires that burned through more than 1 million acres and killed 43 people in the state, including five of the 20 most destructive wildland-urban interface fires in the state’s history.
There are products that can be used to predict how dust and aerosols will affect solar energy. For example to help farmers re-orientate their solar panels or to help predict solar radiation levels, for management of solar energy production.
There are 5 main aerosol species that are used in CAMS aerosol forecasts, these are: sea-salt, desert dust, organic matter, black carbon and sulphates.
Week 4 interactive exercise