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Chemical characterization of prescribed burn emissions from a mixed forest in Northern Michigan

TitleChemical characterization of prescribed burn emissions from a mixed forest in Northern Michigan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsLee JY, Daube C, Fortner E, Ellsworth N, May NW, Tallant J, Herndon S, Pratt KA
JournalEnvironmental Science: Atmospheres
Date PublishedJan-01-2023

A prescribed burn was conducted in October 2017 at the University of Michigan Biological Station located in
Pellston, Michigan. Approximately 0.025 km2 of a temperate forest, primarily composed of red and white
pine, red oak, bigtooth aspen, and red maple, were burned. The resulting smoke was sampled with
a combination of real-time trace gas and aerosol instrumentation aboard the Aerodyne Mobile
Laboratory. The resulting data were segmented into six plume periods, and the gas and particle
concentration and composition measurements were characterized relative to modified combustion
efficiency (MCE), which reflected both smoldering and flaming combustion. Emission factors for C2H2,
C2H6, CH4, and HCN were inversely related to MCE. The bulk submicron particle composition was
characterized as mostly organic by mass (>92%). The majority of the bulk organic mass was within
individual biomass burning particles (>93%, by number) in the accumulation mode. Analysis of the mass
spectral ion peaks of individual biomass burning particles reveals two noteworthy signatures. First, red
pine smoke contained combustion products of eugenol, released during the early stages of lignin
combustion. Second, the combustion of northern hardwoods (e.g., oak, aspen, maple) exhibited
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons peaks corresponding to the combustion of furfural. The results from
this study provide a detailed assessment of the composition of smoke emissions from biomass common
to the understudied north-central United States.

Short TitleEnviron. Sci.: Atmos.
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