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Agricultural Fires and Their Potential Impacts on Regional Air Quality over China

Category: Articles

Volume: 13 | Issue: 3 | Pages: 992-1001
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2012.10.0277

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Shuping Zha1,2, Shuanqin Zhang1, Tiantao Cheng 1,3, Jianmin Chen 1,3, Guanghan Huang1, Xiang Li1, Quanfang Wang4

  • 1 Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution Prevention (LAP3), Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • 2 Institute of Geographic Engineering and Technology, School of Geography Sciences, Nantong University, Nantong 226007, China
  • 3 Fudan-Tyndall Center, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • 4 Faculty of Resources and Environmental Science, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, China


The potential impacts of agricultural fires (agri-fires) on regional air quality over China were examined using active fire products derived from satellite remote sensing and air mass trajectory modeling from 2009 to 2010. Agri-fires were found in most administrative areas. More than 80% of the agri-fires were in the heartlands of agricultural regions such as Anhui, Jiangsu, Shandong and Henan Provinces. Agri-fires had a seasonal pattern, with two distinct peaks in summer and autumn harvest periods, especially in June (61–86%) and October (5–14%). Agri-fire smoke was transported in the atmosphere on a continental scale in three directions, moving northeasterly, northwesterly and southwesterly away from source areas. Particles from agri-fire smoke contributed more than 35% of aerosol optical depth (AOD) over regions of the Jiaodong Peninsular, the North Plain, East China and other areas, and exceeded 60% in some areas of Shandong, Henan and Jiangsu Provinces. In the boundary layer atmosphere, particles from agri-fire smoke contributed more than 29% of PM10 in parts of Anhui, Jiangsu and Shandong Provinces. Due to agri-fires the amount of PM10 was highly correlated (R2 = 0.6) with the smoke air masses in the main potential sink regions, and the mean PM10 during the summer harvest of 2010 reached 0.24 mg/m3, far higher than the adjacent periods without smoke.


Agricultural fire Smoke Air quality Transport

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