• Open Access

Sensitivity of tropospheric oxidants to biomass burning emissions: implications for radiative forcing


Corresponding author: Jingqiu Mao, Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08542, USA. (Jingqiu.Mao@noaa.gov)


[1] Biomass burning is one of the largest sources of trace gases and aerosols to the atmosphere and has profound influence on tropospheric oxidants and radiative forcing. Using a fully coupled chemistry-climate model (GFDL AM3), we find that co-emission of trace gases and aerosol from present-day biomass burning increases the global tropospheric ozone burden by 5.1% and decreases global mean OH by 6.3%. Gas and aerosol emissions combine to increase CH4 lifetime nonlinearly. Heterogeneous processes are shown to contribute partly to the observed lower ΔO3/ΔCO ratios in northern high latitudes versus tropical regions. The radiative forcing from biomass burning is shown to vary nonlinearly with biomass burning strength. At present-day emission levels, biomass burning produces a net radiative forcing of −0.19 W/m2 (−0.29 from short-lived species, mostly aerosol direct and indirect effects, +0.10 from CH4- and CH4-induced changes in O3 and stratospheric H2O) but increases emissions to over 5 times present levels would result in a positive net forcing.