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A method for smoke marker measurements and its potential application for determining the contribution of biomass burning from wildfires and prescribed fires to ambient PM2.5 organic carbon


Sullivan, A. P.; Holden, A. S.; Patterson, L. A.; McMeeking, G. R.; Kreidenweis, S. M.; Malm, W. C.; Hao, W. M.; Wold, C. E.; Collett, J. L., Jr. 2008. A method for smoke marker measurements and its potential application for determining the contribution of biomass burning from wildfires and prescribed fires to ambient PM2.5 organic carbon. Journal of Geophysical Research. 113: D22302, doi:10.1029/2008JD010216.

Biomass burning is an important source of particulate organic carbon (OC) in the atmosphere. Quantifying this contribution in time and space requires a means of routinely apportioning contributions of smoke from biomass burning to OC. Smoke marker (for example, levoglucosan) measurements provide the most common approach for making this determination. A lack of source profiles for wildfires and prescribed fires and the expense and complexity of traditional smoke marker measurement methods have thus far limited routine estimates of these contributions to ambient aerosol concentrations and regional haze. We report here on the collection of source profiles for combustion of numerous wildland fuels and on the development of an inexpensive and robust technique for routine smoke marker measurements. Hi-Volume filter source samples were collected during two studies at the Fire Science Laboratory in Missoula, MT in 2006 and 2007. Levoglucosan (and other carbohydrates) were measured in these samples using high-performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection. Results of this analysis along with water-soluble potassium, OC, and elemental carbon are presented.

Keywords: smoke marker measurements, biomass burning, wildfires, prescribed fires, particulate organic carbon (OC)


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: A method for smoke marker measurements and its potential application for determining the contribution of biomass burning from wildfires and prescribed fires to ambient PM2.5 organic carbon
Electronic Publish Date: October 16, 2009
Last Update:
October 16, 2009

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