Enhancement of carbon monoxide concentration in atmosphere due to large scale forest fire of Uttarakhand
The richly forested Indian state of Uttarakhand experienced widespread forest fires in April to May 2016. The current study examines dispersion of carbon monoxide (CO) from the source regions of forest fire to distant places, using the Lagrangian particle dispersion model, FLEXPART. Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) observations revealed that CO columnar concentrations had increased by almost 28 percentage during 24 April to 02 May 2016 with respect to the previous non-burning period of April 2016 at Uttarakhand. It is also seen that there is considerable enhancement of 45 percentage in average columnar concentration of CO during the burning period, compared to that in the previous 5 years as observed by AIRS. In the present study, concentrations of CO at different pressure levels and columnar CO over Uttarakhand during the forest fire event have been simulated using FLEXPART. The area averaged profile of model derived CO has been compared with the profile from AIRS onboard Aqua. Comparison between model derived columnar CO and satellite observations shows good agreement with coefficient of correlation (r) approximately 0.91 over the burnt areas. Further analysis using FLEXPART reveals that the transport of pollutants is towards north-eastern and eastern regions from the locations of forest fire events. Model derived vertical distribution of CO over Tibet, which is situated at the north-east of Uttarakhand, shows significant increase of CO concentration at higher altitudes around 3 km from the mean sea level during the fire event. FLEXPART results show that the emissions from the Uttarakhand fires were transported to Tibet during the study period.