Category Archives: Claire Buysse

A new age of wildfires

wildire in Pacific Northwest

Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington.

A new article on the University of Washington website looks at the growing severity of wildfires and the broad research that the university is doing on their impacts. The article highlights the work that we do on wildfires’ effects on air quality. Also featured is the Joel Thornton lab at UW Seattle and the work of other UW researchers who study wildfires and forests.

Faculty and students install instruments at Mt. Bachelor Observatory.

Claire Buysse and Dan Jaffe set up radiometers to measure UV light on the top of Mt. Bachelor Observatory, August 2019. Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington.

In the summer of 2019, UW photographer Mark Stone visited Mt. Bachelor Observatory, as well as other research sites, and captured the UW’s research in stunning photographs.

Read the article.

Mt. Bachelor Observatory

Mt. Bachelor Observatory research site at the top of Mt. Bachelor, Bend, Oregon, August 2019. Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington.

New paper explores relationships between PM, ozone, and nitrogen oxides during urban smoke events

Claire Buysse at Mt. Bachelor Observatory, July 29, 2019

Claire Buysse installing equipment at Mt. Bachelor Observatory, July 29, 2019. Photo credit: Mark Stone.

A newly published paper by Claire Buysse and coauthors Aaron Kaulfus, Udaysankar Nair, and Dan Jaffe explores the the impact of wildfire smoke on urban air quality. The paper, published in Environmental Science & Technology, describes the authors’ study of ozone (O3) impacts from smoke on 18 western US cities during July–September 2013–2017. They used monitoring data from ground-based sites and identified smoke using the satellite-based hazard mapping system (HMS) fire and smoke product provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Their findings include the following:

  • O3 and particulate matter <2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) are elevated at most sites on days influenced by smoke, while nitrogen oxides (NOx) are not consistently elevated at all sites.
  • PM2.5 and O3 exhibit a nonlinear relationship: O3 increases with PM2.5 at low to moderate PM2.5 and then O3 decreases at higher PM2.5.
  • On days influenced by smoke, the rate of increase of morning O3 is higher and the NO/NO2 ratios are lower.
  • The HMS product is useful for identifying smoke. However, because O3 and PM2.5 are elevated on days before and after HMS-identified smoke events, some smoke events are not being detected.

Read the full paper here.