The significance of biomass burning as a source of carbon monoxide and ozone in the southern hemisphere tropics: A satellite analysis


  • Catherine E. Watson,

  • Jack Fishman,

  • Henry G. Reichle Jr.


Carbon monoxide mixing ratios obtained by the October 1984 Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites (MAPS) experiment are compared with the distribution of October 1984 Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) ozone concentrations. The TOMS and MAPS data show coincident high values of ozone and carbon monoxide over central South America and southeastern Africa. The 1984 MAPS data are also compared with tropospheric ozone concentrations derived from 6 years of TOMS and Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) I and II measurements. Examination of the October climatological distribution of tropospheric ozone also reveals high concentrations over central South America and southeastern Africa. These coincident high values of CO and ozone in the rural southern tropics are most likely due to biomass burning and the subsequent transport of CO and ozone by large-scale weather patterns. It appears that both CO and ozone are being transported thousands of kilometers from their source regions by the prevailing winds.