Temporal variability of greenhouse gas and reactive gas emission factors during a two-week-long tropical peatland experimental burn

Muhammad Agung Santoso, Yuqi Hu, Thomas E.L. Smith, Fahid Amin, Muhammad Hafiz, Eirik G. Christensen, Wuquan Cui, Dwi Marhaendro Jati Purnomo, Pither Palamba, Yulianto Sulistyo Nugroho, Guillermo Rein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Smoke from peatland wildfires contributes significantly to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while reactive gases and particulates cause transboundary haze episodes. Haze is the large-scale accumulation of smoke at low altitudes, especially frequent in Southeast Asia during dry periods. Understanding emissions from peatland fires plays a vital role in calculating GHG budgets, forecasting haze events and modelling future climate change. However, only a handful of field studies or laboratory experiments on tropical peat fire smoke have been undertaken to date. Of the few studies that have investigated tropical peatland fire emissions, there exists substantial inter-study variabilities of emission factors (EFs) with some gas emission factors varying by a factor of 10 between studies. Explaining the nature of such variability remains a challenge. In August/September 2018 in Riau, Indonesia, we carried out the first field-scale experimental burn on a tropical peatland (the GAMBUT Workshop), aiming to understand how fires ignite, how they spread, and how emissions vary across the life-cycle of a peatland fire. Our site was a heavily degraded tropical peatland subjected to long-term drainage, logging, and agricultural conversion. Here we present the field measurements of gas emissions from the fire experiment. Open-path Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (OP-FTIR) was used to retrieve mole fractions of 13 gas species. EFs from 40 measurement sessions over two weeks of burning during different fire stages (e.g., slash and burn ignition, smouldering spread or suppression) and weather events (e.g., wind or rainfall) were calculated and reported. We present field evidence to indicate that EFs vary significantly among fire stages and weather events. Heterogenous physicochemical properties of our peatland site (e.g. moisture content, inorganic content and bulk density) were also found to affect the EFs. We discuss the implications for air quality forecasting, suggesting the necessity for more complex mapping of peatland heterogeneity/land-use for emissions inventories and temporally variable emissions factors, depending on the time since the initiation of a fire event.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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