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Small-Scale Study of Siberian Biomass Burning: I. Smoke Microstructure

Category: Aerosol Physics and Instrumentation

Volume: 15 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 117-128
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2014.09.0206

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Olga B. Popovicheva 1, Valerii S. Kozlov2, Guenter Engling3,4, Evangelia Diapouli5, Natalia M. Persiantseva1, Mikhail A. Timofeev1, Ting-Sin Fan3, Dikaia Saraga5, Konstantinos Eleftheriadis5

  • 1 Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory1, 119991, Moscow, Russia
  • 2 Institute of Atmospheric Optics, SB RAS, Zuev sq.1, 634021, Tomsk, Russian Federation
  • 3 Department of Biomedical Engineering and Environmental Sciences, National Tsing Hua University, No. 101, Sec. 2, Kuang-Fu Rd., Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan
  • 4 Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV 89512, USA
  • 5 Institute of Nuclear & Radiological Sciences & Technology, Energy & Safety, N.C.S.R. “Demokritos”, Ag. Paraskevi, 15310, Athens, Greece


Pine/debris smoke morphology and elemental composition depends on combustion temperature.
Group Soot is a micromarker of open flaming, in accordance to low OC/EC ratio.
Large emission of OC versus EC assigns Group Organic to a micromarker of smoldering.
Groups of internally/externally mixed fly ash are separated from soot or organic particles.
Inorganic compounds compose potassium chlorides and sulfates during smoke evolution.


Reliable assessment of the impact of Siberian boreal forest wildfires on the environment and climate necessitates an improved understanding of microphysical and chemical properties of emitted aerosols. Smoldering, flaming and mixed fires of typical Siberian biomass (pine and debris) were simulated during a small-scale study in a Large Aerosol Chamber (LAC). Individual particle analysis of PM10 and PM2.5 smoke morphology and elemental composition revealed a strong dependence on combustion temperature, i.e., a dominant abundance of soot agglomerates versus roughly spherical organic particles in the flaming and smoldering phase, respectively. Cluster analysis of smoke microstructure was used to apportion the emitted particles into major characteristic groups: Soot and Organic, which accounted for around 90% and 60% of total particle numbers emitted from the flaming and smoldering fires, respectively. Carbon fractions and inorganic ion analysis supported the identification of particle types representative of combustion phase and biomass type. Elemental carbon (EC) particles from flaming fires comprised approximately 25% of Group Soot, in good agreement with a high EC fraction in total carbon of around 65% and low organic carbon (OC)/EC ratio near 0.5. Smoldering fires of pine and debris produced exclusively organic particles with high OC/EC ratios of 194 and 34, respectively. Small quantities of elemental constituents in biomass were vaporized during combustion and produced internally/externally mixed fly ash in Group Ca-, Si-, and Fe-rich of significantly less abundance. Ca, Cl, S, and Mg were more frequently distributed elements in pine than debris smoke. Sulfates and nitrates produced from gas-to-particle reactions formed Group S- and N-rich. During time evolution of smoke volatile inorganic compounds were condensed as potassium chlorides and sulfates into a newly formed Group K, Cl-rich. Quantification of Siberian biomass smoke microstructure by chemical micromarkers enables aerosols to be classified with respect to a source type assigned to Siberian wildfires.


Biomass combustion Smoke aerosol Pine Elemental composition SEM

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