Inderscience Publishers

A case study of biomass burning and its smoke dispersion to Buenos Aires City, Argentina

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In February and March 2000, several uncontrolled forest and grassland fires occurred in the municipalities of Campana and Zarate (100 km north of Buenos Aires, Argentina). The biomass burning emitted a large amount of smoke particulates, which caused dense fog and visibility impairment in the nearby area. From 18 to 19 March, the smoke was transported towards the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (BAMA), resulting in a prolonged reduction of visibility. This feature was supported by a build-up of the Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT) and deposited particulate matter mass observed in BAMA. This paper examines the prevailing meteorological situation that produced the smoke transport towards BAMA. An anticyclone, displaced easterly over the interest area by a frontal low-pressure system, produced low-level ventilation conditions that favoured the transport and the smoke persistence in BAMA. The transport of particles and the behaviour of their normalised concentrations were simulated adequately by a regional dispersion model.

Keywords: forest fires, ash dispersion, backward trajectories, visibility impairment, aerosol optical thickness, AOT, HYSPLIT, Buenos Aires, biomass burning, smoke dispersion, Argentina, grassland fires, smoke particulates, simulation, regional dispersion models

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