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Seasonal Impact of Regional Outdoor Biomass Burning on Air Pollution in Three Indian Cities: Delhi, Bengaluru, and PuneAir pollution in many of India's cities exceeds national and international standards, and effective pollution control strategies require knowledge of the sources that contribute to air pollution and their spatiotemporal variability. In this study, we examine the influence of a single pollution source, outdoor biomass burning, on particulate matter (PM) concentrations, surface visibility, and aerosol optical depth (AOD) from 2007 to 2013 in three of the most populous Indian cities. We define the upwind regions, or "airsheds," for the cities by using atmospheric back trajectories from the HYSPLIT model. Using satellite fire radiative power (FRP) observations as a measure of fire activity, we target pre-monsoon and post-monsoon fires upwind of the Delhi National Capital Region and pre-monsoon fires surrounding Bengaluru and Pune. We find varying contributions of outdoor fires to different air quality metrics. For the post-monsoon burning season, we find that a subset of local meteorological variables (air temperature, humidity, sea level pressure, wind speed and direction) and FRP as the only pollution source explained 39% of variance in Delhi station PM(sub 10) anomalies, 77% in visibility, and 30% in satellite AOD; additionally, per unit increase in FRP within the daily airshed (1000 MW), PM(sub 10) increases by 16.34 micrograms per cubic meter, visibility decreases by 0.097 km, and satellite AOD increases by 0.07. In contrast, for the pre-monsoon burning season, we find less significant contributions from FRP to air quality in all three cities. Further, we attribute 99% of FRP from post-monsoon outdoor fires within Delhi's average airshed to agricultural burning. Our work suggests that although outdoor fires are not the dominant air pollution source in India throughout the year, post-monsoon fires contribute substantially to regional air pollution and high levels of population exposure around Delhi. During 3-day blocks of extreme PM(sub 2.5) in the 2013 post-monsoon burning season, which coincided with statistically significant high fire activity, concentrations in Delhi averaged 304 micrograms per cubic meter, or more than 1000% above the 24-h PM(sub 2.5) guideline (25 micrograms per cubic meter) of the World Health Organization. These results suggest that providing viable alternatives to agricultural residue burning could help improve post-monsoon air quality for a growing population of 63 million (39% in urban areas) within Delhi's airshed.
Document ID
20180000966
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Liu, Tianjia (Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
Marlier, Miriam E. (Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
DeFries, Ruth S. (Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
Westervelt, Daniel M. (Columbia Univ. Palisades, NY, United States)
Xia, Karen R. (Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
Fiore, Arlene M. (Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
Mickley, Loretta J. (Harvard Univ. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Cusworth, Daniel H. (Harvard Univ. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Milly, George (Columbia Univ. Palisades, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
February 5, 2018
Publication Date
November 2, 2017
Publication Information
Publication: Atmospheric Environment
Volume: 172
ISSN: 1352-2310
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
Report/Patent Number
GSFC-E-DAA-TN49058
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NNX11AH98G
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other
Keywords
Air quality; Outdoor fires; Crop residue burning; HYSPLIT; Indi