Scientific Publications

Estimating Black Carbon Emissions from Agricultural Burning


Abstract - High sensitivity of the Arctic region to short-lived climate forcers, including black carbon (BC), makes crop residue burning an important source of emissions. A high to moderate uncertainty in cropland burning emission estimates from remote sensing-based analyses currently exists and is problematic for establishing baseline estimates of black carbon emissions from global remote sensing products. Straw burning and possible BC emissions were estimated at the oblast level for Russia for years 2003 through 2010. A study was based on 1 km Moderate Resolution Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Active Fire Product, oblast level agricultural statistics, 1:25,000–1:50,000 scale GIS vector field maps and developing algorithms for calculating the size and intensity of fires as well as testing the accuracy of the predictions in areas with contrast land use. Both Active Fire Product and statistics methods demonstrated consistent results, including increasing fire activity in the years with additional straw surplus and the highest absolute values for vast territories with quite intensive grain production, mainly in European Russia. Straw burning can be a source of at least 1/3 total BC emissions from agriculture and grassland fires and does not appear to be the main source of total BC emissions for the Russian Federation. For regions with small number of cropland fires, the accuracy of existing remote sensing-based land cover products is insufficient for reliable classification of agricultural fires from satellite products. Incorrect classification of agricultural fires may exceed 25%, increasing for the northern part of the country where forests are the predominant land cover. An improved method would be to calculate BC emissions from burned area using high resolution field masks and ground validation of fire sources in cropland areas.

Romanenkov, V., D. Rukhovich, P. Koroleva, & J. L. McCarty (2014) Estimating Black Carbon Emissions from Agricultural Burning, Environmental Science and Engineering 347-364.

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