Intercomparison of two box models of the chemical evolution in biomass-burning smoke plumes

Sherri A. Mason, Jörg Trentmann, Tanja Winterrath, Robert J. Yokelson, Theodore J. Christian, Lisa J. Carlson, Thomas R. Warner, Louise C. Wolfe, Meinrat O. Andreae

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31 Scopus citations


Results from two independently developed biomass-burning smoke plume models are compared. Model results were obtained for the temporal evolution of two nascent smoke plumes originating from significantly different fire environments (an Alaskan boreal forest and an African savanna). The two smoke plume models differed by 1%-10% for [O3], with similar differences for NOx and formaldehyde (relative percent differences). Smaller intermodel differences were observed for the African savanna smoke plume as compared to the plume from the Alaskan boreal fire. Mechanistic differences between the models are heightened for the Alaskan smoke plume due to the higher VOC emission ratios as compared to the African savanna fire. The largest deviations result from the differences in oxidative photochemical mechanisms, with a smaller contribution attributable to the calculation of photolysis frequencies. The differences between the two smoke plume models are significantly smaller than the uncertainties of available photokinetic data or field measurements. Model accuracy depends most significantly on having the fullest possible VOC data, a requirement that is constrained by currently available instrumentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-297
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Atmospheric Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Biomass burning
  • Computational modeling
  • Intercomparison
  • Tropospheric chemistry


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