Wildfire Smoke Influence on Cloud Water Chemical Composition at Whiteface Mountain, New York

J Geophys Res Atmos. 2022 Oct 16;127(19):e2022JD037177. doi: 10.1029/2022JD037177. Epub 2022 Oct 8.

ABSTRACT

Wildfires significantly impact air quality and climate, including through the production of aerosols that can nucleate cloud droplets and participate in aqueous-phase reactions. Cloud water was collected during the summer months (June-September) of 2010-2017 at Whiteface Mountain, New York and examined for biomass burning influence. Cloud water samples were classified by their smoke influence based on backward air mass trajectories and satellite-detected smoke. A total of 1,338 cloud water samples collected over 485 days were classified by their probability of smoke influence, with 49% of these days categorized as having moderate to high probability of smoke influence. Carbon monoxide and ozone levels were enhanced during smoke influenced days at the summit of Whiteface Mountain. Smoke-influenced cloud water samples were characterized by enhanced concentrations of potassium, sulfate, ammonium, and total organic carbon, compared to samples lacking identified influence. Five cloud water samples were examined further for the presence of dissolved organic compounds, insoluble particles, and light-absorbing components. The five selected cloud water samples contained the biomass burning tracer levoglucosan at 0.02-0.09 μM. Samples influenced by air masses that remained aloft, above the boundary layer during transport, had lower insoluble particle concentrations, larger insoluble particle diameters, and larger oxalate:sulfate ratios, suggesting cloud processing had occurred. These findings highlight the influence that local and long-range transported smoke have on cloud water composition.

PMID:36590830 | PMC:PMC9787799 | DOI:10.1029/2022JD037177

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