Shyno Susan John

and 3 more

Fire is an essential global phenomenon that existed soon after the appearance of terrestrial plants and is vital for the regeneration of the plant species. Human activities have contributed to a changing climate and impacted fire regimes, resulting in more intense, frequent and severe fires. In particular, the 2019-20 bushfires in south-eastern Australia were unprecedented in their extent and intensity. However, human activities can also play a dominant role in regulating fire behaviour effectively through better fire management practices. In Northern Australia, indigenous fire managers use prescribed burns during the early dry season to prevent large late dry season fires, which shifts the overall temporal distribution of fire activity earlier during the primary biomass burning season. This increasing trend of prescribed burns has helped to significantly reduce the size and extent of the intense late dry season fires, indicating that such fire management practices can be effective at managing wildfires in savannas. Biomass burning can emit many chemical species that have an impact on human health. One of the most abundant and widely measured is carbon monoxide (CO), whose long-term exposure can lead to potential human health risk. CO is also a good proxy for emissions of other shorter-lived and harder-to-measure atmospheric constituents. This study is focussed on understanding how the earlier fire season in Northern Australia impacts the temporal shift in annual cycle of CO. Column CO data from the ground-based Total Carbon Column Observing Network site in Darwin will be used together with surface measurements, complemented by the surface mixing ratio observations from MOPITT, in order to disentangle the CO emitted from the study region from that measured in the column from remote emissions coupled with long-range transport. GEOS-Chem CO tagged tracer modelling capability will be used to better understand the effect of local fire emissions on the surface and column CO.