Forest fires in a changing climate and their impacts on air quality
In a future climate scenario forest fire activity over Portugal will substantially increase and consequently area burned and forest fire emissions to the atmosphere are also expected to increase. This study investigated the impact of future forest fire emissions on air quality over Portugal under the IPCC SRES A2 scenario. Reference and future climate change scenarios were simulated using the MM5/CHIMERE air quality modelling system, which was applied over Europe and over Portugal, using nesting capabilities. The initial and boundary conditions were provided by the HadAM3P model simulations for the reference and the future climate. The forest fire emissions were estimated using a methodology, which included the selection of emission factors for each pollutant, burning efficiency, fuel loads and the predicted area burned. These emissions were added to the simulation grid using specific parameterizations for their vertical distribution. Modelling results for Portugal pointed out that future forest fire activity will increase the O3 concentrations of almost 23 Î¼g m−3 by 2100 but a decrease of approximately 6 Î¼g m−3 is detected close to the main forest fire locations. Future forest fire emissions will also impact the PM10 concentrations over Portugal with increases reaching 20 Î¼g m−3 along the Northern coastal region in July. The highest increases are estimated over the north and centre of Portugal where the area burned projections in future climate are higher. âº We investigate the impact of forest fires on air quality over Portugal under climatic scenario. âº we simulated reference and future climate change scenarios using the MM5/CHIMERE modelling system. âº The forest fire emissions were estimated using a standard methodology. âº Modelling results pointed out that future forest fire emissions will impact O3 and PM10. âº The highest increases are estimated over the north and centre of Portugal.