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Extreme air pollution events in Hokkaido, Japan, traced back to early snowmelt and large-scale wildfires over East Eurasia: Case studies.


ABSTRACT: To identify the unusual climate conditions and their connections to air pollutions in a remote area due to wildfires, we examine three anomalous large-scale wildfires in May 2003, April 2008, and July 2014 over East Eurasia, as well as how products of those wildfires reached an urban city, Sapporo, in the northern part of Japan (Hokkaido), significantly affecting the air quality. NASA's MERRA-2 (the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2) aerosol re-analysis data closely reproduced the PM2.5 variations in Sapporo for the case of smoke arrival in July 2014. Results show that all three cases featured unusually early snowmelt in East Eurasia, accompanied by warmer and drier surface conditions in the months leading to the fires, inducing long-lasting soil dryness and producing climate and environmental conditions conducive to active wildfires. Due to prevailing anomalous synoptic-scale atmospheric motions, smoke from those fires eventually reached a remote area, Hokkaido, and worsened the air quality in Sapporo. In future studies, continuous monitoring of the timing of Eurasian snowmelt and the air quality from the source regions to remote regions, coupled with the analysis of atmospheric and surface conditions, may be essential in more accurately predicting the effects of wildfires on air quality.

SUBMITTER: Yasunari TJ 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5917029 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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