Emissions from miombo woodland and dambo grassland savanna fires

Parikhit Sinha, Peter V. Hobbs, Robert J. Yokelson, Donald R. Blake, Song Gao, Thomas W. Kirchstetter

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Airborne measurements of trace gases and particles over and downwind of two prescribed savanna fires in Zambia are described. The measurements include profiles through the smoke plumes of condensation nucleus concentrations and normalized excess mixing ratios of particles and gases, emission factors for 42 trace gases and seven particulate species, and vertical profiles of ambient conditions. The fires were ignited in plots of miombo woodland savanna, the most prevalent savanna type in southern Africa, and dambo grassland savanna, an important enclave of miombo woodland ecosystems. Emission factors for the two fires are combined with measurements of fuel loading, combustion factors, and burned area (derived from satellite bum scar retrievals) to estimate the emissions of trace gases and particles from woodland and grassland savanna fires in Zambia and southern Africa during the dry season (May-October) of 2000. It is estimated that the emissions Of CO2, CO, total hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx as NO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), formaldehyde, methyl bromide, total particulate matter, and black carbon from woodland and grassland savanna fires during the dry season of 2000 in southern Africa contributed 12.3%, 12.6%, 5.9%, 10.3%, 7.5%, 24.2%, 2.8%, 17.5%, and 11.1%, respectively, of the average annual emissions from all types of savanna fires worldwide. In 2000 the average annual emissions of methane, ethane, ethene, acetylene, propene, formaldehyde, methanol, and acetic acid from the use of biofuels in Zambia were comparable to or exceeded dry season emissions of these species from woodland and grassland savanna fires in Zambia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)D11305 1-13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 16 2004


  • Emissions and emission factors
  • Savanna fires
  • Trace gases and particles


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