Biomass burning smoke climatology of the United States: Implications for particulate matter air quality
We utilize the NOAA Hazard Mapping System smoke product for the period of 2005 to 2016 to develop climatology of smoke occurrence over the Continental United States (CONUS) region and to study the impact of wildland fires on particulate matter air quality at the surface. Our results indicate that smoke is most frequently found over the Great Plains and western states during the summer months. Other hotspots of smoke occurrence are found over state and national parks in the southeast during winter and spring, in the Gulf of Mexico southwards of the Texas and Louisiana coastline during spring season and along the Mississippi River Delta during the fall season. A substantial portion (20%) of the 24 h federal standard for particulate pollution exceedance events in the CONUS region occur when smoke is present. If the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations continue to reduce anthropogenic emissions, wildland fire emissions will become the major contributor to particulate pollution and exceedance events. In this context, we show that HMS smoke product is a valuable tool for analysis of exceptional events caused by wildland fires and our results indicate that these tools can be valuable for policy and decision makers.