Mercury emission estimates from fires: An initial inventory for the United States

AMS Citation:
Wiedinmyer, C., and H. Friedli, 2007: Mercury emission estimates from fires: An initial inventory for the United States. Environmental Science & Technology, 41, 8092-8098, doi:10.1021/es071289o.
Date:2007-12-01
Resource Type:article
Title:Mercury emission estimates from fires: An initial inventory for the United States
Abstract: Recent studies have shown that emissions of mercury (Hg), a hazardous air pollutant, from fires can be significant. However, to date, these emissions have not been well-quantified for the entire United States. Daily emissions of Hg from fires in the lower 48 states of the United States (LOWER48) and in Alaska were estimated for 2002 - 2006 using a simple fire emissions model. Emission factors of Hg from fires in different ecosystems were compiled from published plume studies and from soil-based assessments. Annual averaged emissions of Hg from fires in the LOWER48 and Alaska were 44 (20 - 65) metric tons yr⁻¹, equivalent to -30% of the U.S. EPA 2002 National Emissions Inventory for Hg. Alaska had the highest averaged monthly emissions of all states; however, the emissions have a high temporal variability. Emissions from forests dominate the inventory, suggesting that Hg emissions from agricultural fires are not significant on an annual basis. The uncertainty in the Hg emission factors due to limited data leads to an uncertainty in the emission estimates on the order of ±50%. Research is still needed to better constrain Hg emission factors from fires, particularly in the eastern U.S. and for ecosystems other than forests.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2007 American Chemical Society.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7f1900x
Publisher's Version: 10.1021/es071289o
Author(s):
  • Christine Wiedinmyer - NCAR/UCAR
  • Hans Friedli - NCAR/UCAR
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