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    Author(s): Nataly Y. Chubarova; Nickolay G. Prilepsky; Alexei N. Rublev; Allen R. Riebau
    Date: 2009
    Source: In: Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Arbaugh, Michael; Andersen, Christian; Riebau, Allen 2009. Wildland Fires and Air Pollution. Developments in Environmental Science 8. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier. pp. 247-264
    Publication Series: Book
    PDF: View PDF  (332.11 KB)

    Description

    In 2002, a major drought and prolonged high temperatures occurred in central Russia that resulted in unprecedented wildland fires. These fires occurred under extreme fire danger conditions and were impossible for the Russian authorities to extinguish. It is perhaps somewhat unique that the fires were first burning peat bogs and later forests, causing very massive smoke. Smoke was transported into Moscow itself for a period of almost 2 months, sometimes reducing visibility to below 60 m. Owing to the population size of Moscow and the duration of the event, these fires resulted in perhaps the most significant exposures of fire smoke to a major population center in recorded history. Significant reductions in solar radiation were observed during a course of measurements taken at the meteorological observatory at Moscow State University and at Zvenigorod Biostation located about 50km west of the observatory. The fire smoke cloud was characterized by high aerosol optical thickness (AOT), high values of single scattering albedo in the visible spectral region (SSAB0.95), and high concentration of optically active gas species. Surface ozone levels were additionally elevated. At Zvenigorod Biostation changes in forest herbaceous plant development, flowering, and seeding were also observed. These changes may be explained as resulting from a combination of extreme weather, elevated surface ozone, and to a lesser extent changes in solar radiation.

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    Citation

    Chubarova, Nataly Y.; Prilepsky, Nickolay G.; Rublev, Alexei N.; Riebau, Allen R. 2009. A Mega-fire event in Central Russia: fire weather, radiative, and optical properties of the atmosphere, and consequences for subboreal forest plants. In: Bytnerowicz, A.; Arbaugh, M.; Andersen, C.; Riebau, A. eds. Wildland Fires and Air Pollution. Developments in Environmental Science. Elsevier. Amsterdam. Vol. 8:247-264. DOI:10.1016/S1474-8177(08)00011-9

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