Dr. Dan Jaffe is the lead author on a critical review that examines the processes that influence wildfires and prescribed fires and their effects on air quality in the U.S. This review, “Wildfire and prescribed burning impacts on air quality in the United States,” is published in the June issue of the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association. This paper is the result of a collaboration between Dan Jaffe and Susan O’Neill, Narasimhan Larkin, Amara Holder, David Peterson, Jessica Halofsky, and Ana Rappold. These coauthors have brought their range of expertise to the issues related to wildland fires and have examined each of the processes influencing these fires and also the effects of the fires, “including the natural role of wildland fire, forest management, ignitions, emissions, transport, chemistry, and human health impacts.”
Large wildfires in the U.S. are becoming more common, and their emissions of particulate matter (PM) and gaseous compounds negatively impact air quality and human health. The air quality trend in the U.S. has been improving in the last decades. However, seasonal wildfires threaten to undermine this progress in parts of the country. The area burned by wildland fires has grown significantly in the last few decades due to “past forest management practices, climate change, and other human factors.” This has resulted in millions of people experiencing high levels of air pollution. As cities and towns have spread further into wildlands, costs for fire suppression (to protect human developments) and the consequences of fires have increased significantly.
Total U.S. wildfire area burned (ha) and federal suppression costs for 1985–2018 scaled to constant (2016) U.S. dollars. Trends for both wildfire area burned and suppression indicate about a four-fold increase over a 30-year period. Data source: National Interagency Fire Center, Fire Information Statistics, accessed December 2, 2019. https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_statistics.html.
In this review, Dr. Jaffe and his coauthors describe the current state of the research and identify key data gaps. Their goal is to identify areas that are well understood and areas that need more research. They recommend eight specific areas for future research.
Read the paper here
Free paper eprints available here
Datasets collected at Mt. Bachelor Observatory from 2004 to 2016 are now permanently archived and publicly available in the University of Washington ResearchWorks archive. The datasets include observations of ozone, carbon monoxide, mercury, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and other atmospheric constituents. You can find the data by searching for Mt. Bachelor Observatory.
MBO datasets in UW ResearchWorks
UW ResearchWorks Archive
The Jaffe Group has published 4 first-author papers so far this year. Stay tuned for more! Click the following links to see each paper:
- James Laing, Dan Jaffe, Abbigale Slavens, Wenting Li, and Wenxi Wang, Can ΔPM2.5/ΔCO and ΔNOy/ΔCO enhancement ratios be used to characterize the influence of wildfire smoke in urban areas? Aerosol and Air Quality Research, doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.02.0069.
- Honglian Gao and Dan Jaffe, Comparison of ultraviolet absorbance and NO-chemiluminescence for ozone measurement in wildfire plumes at the Mount Bachelor Observatory. Atmospheric Environment 166, 224–233, doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2017.07.007.
- Lei Zhang and Dan Jaffe, Trends and sources of ozone and sub-micron aerosols at the Mt. Bachelor Observatory (MBO) during 2004–2015. Atmospheric Environment 165, 143–154, doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2017.06.042.
- Dan Jaffe and Lei Zhang, Meteorological anomalies lead to elevated O3 in the western U.S. in June 2015. Geophysical Research Letters 44, 1990–1997, doi: 10.1002/2016GL072010.
Aerobiology workshop participants in Bend, Oregon – May 2017
The Jaffe Group (specifically, Dan and Dee Ann) along with Andrew C. Schuerger of the University of Florida, Space Life Sciences Lab, organized a NASA-funded workshop in Bend, Oregon, at the beginning of May. This workshop gathered researchers from several universities and agencies to discuss a future experiment in “Aerobiology.” This is the study of the transport and biology of microbes in the atmosphere. Researchers plan to use Mt. Bachelor as a key sampling location to study the long-range transport of microbes in the global atmosphere. David Smith, now at NASA Ames Research Center, was one of the workshop participants. He is a UW alum (PhD Biology) and previously did ground-breaking work on aerobiology at Mt. Bachelor Observatory (see publications in 2011-2013).
In addition to PI Andrew Schuerger, David Smith, and Dan Jaffe, other participants were Co-PI Dale W. Griffin (US Geological Survey), Susannah M. Burrows (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), Brent C. Christner (University of Florida), Cristina Gonzalez-Martin (University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain), Erin K. Lipp (University of Georgia), David G. Schmale (Virginia Tech), Boris Wawrik (University of Oklahoma), and Hongbin Yu (University of Maryland and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center).
Look for a future project studying microbes in the sky!