Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Climate Impacts of Wildfire Smoke in the Stratosphere: Pyrocumulonimbus Events over British Columbia in 2017

Presentation Date
Wednesday, January 11, 2023 at 8:30am - Wednesday, January 11, 2023 at 8:45am
Colorado Convention Center - 210/212



Pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) are fire-triggered or fire-augmented thunderstorms, which can transport numerous smoke particles into the lower stratosphere. With satellite remote sensing measurements, the plumes from pyroCbs over British Columbia in 2017 were observed in the lower stratosphere for about 8-10 months after the smoke injections. Several previous studies used global climate models to investigate the physical parameters for the 2017 pyroCb events, but the conclusions show strong model dependency. In this study, we use the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) atmosphere model version 1 (EAMv1) and complete an ensemble of runs exploring three injection parameters: smoke aerosol mass, the percentage of black carbon within the smoke aerosols, and plume injection height. Additionally, we consider the heterogeneous reaction of ozone and primary organic matter. According to the satellite daily observed aerosol optical depth, we find that the best ensemble member is the simulation with 0.4 Tg of smoke, 3% of which is black carbon, a 13.5 km smoke injection height, and a 10-5 probability factor of the heterogeneous reaction of ozone and primary organic matter. We use the Random Forest machine learning technique to quantify the relative importance of each parameter in accurately simulating the 2017 pyroCb events and find that the injection height is the most critical feature. Due to the long lifetime and wide transport of stratospheric aerosols, the estimated e-folding time of smoke aerosols in the stratosphere ranges from 137 to 188 days, and the global averaged shortwave surface cooling is -0.292 W m-2 for 10 months.

36th Conference on Climate Variability and Change
Funding Program Area(s)