RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS



Wind erosion of post-fire landscapes

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This paper presents a case study to demonstrate the ability of the modeling framework to capture the onset and dynamics of a post-fire dust event and then use the modeling framework to estimate particulate matter (PM) emissions from burn scars left by wildfires in U.S. western sagebrush landscapes during 2012. Modeled emissions from 1.2 million ha of burned soil totaled 32.1 Tg of dust as PM10 and 12.8 Tg as PM2.5. Despite the relatively large uncertainties in these estimates and a number of underlying assumptions, these first estimates of annual post-fire dust emissions suggest that post-fire PM emissions could substantially increase current annual PM estimates in the U.S. National Emissions Inventory during high fire activity years. Given the potential for post-fire scars to be a large source of PM, further on-site PM flux measurements are needed to improve emission parameterizations and constrain these first estimates.