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      Chemical speciation of trace metals emitted from Indonesian peat fires for health risk assessment

      , , , , ,
      Atmospheric Research
      Elsevier BV

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          Biomass burning in the tropics: impact on atmospheric chemistry and biogeochemical cycles.

          Biomass burning is widespread, especially in the tropics. It serves to clear land for shifting cultivation, to convert forests to agricultural and pastoral lands, and to remove dry vegetation in order to promote agricultural productivity and the growth of higher yield grasses. Furthermore, much agricultural waste and fuel wood is being combusted, particularly in developing countries. Biomass containing 2 to 5 petagrams of carbon is burned annually (1 petagram = 10(15) grams), producing large amounts of trace gases and aerosol particles that play important roles in atmospheric chemistry and climate. Emissions of carbon monoxide and methane by biomass burning affect the oxidation efficiency of the atmosphere by reacting with hydroxyl radicals, and emissions of nitric oxide and hydrocarbons lead to high ozone concentrations in the tropics during the dry season. Large quantities of smoke particles are produced as well, and these can serve as cloud condensation nuclei. These particles may thus substantially influence cloud microphysical and optical properties, an effect that could have repercussions for the radiation budget and the hydrological cycle in the tropics. Widespread burning may also disturb biogeochemical cycles, especially that of nitrogen. About 50 percent of the nitrogen in the biomass fuel can be released as molecular nitrogen. This pyrdenitrification process causes a sizable loss of fixed nitrogen in tropical ecosystems, in the range of 10 to 20 teragrams per year (1 teragram = 10(12) grams).
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            Association of fine particulate matter from different sources with daily mortality in six U.S. cities.

            Previously we reported that fine particle mass (particulate matter [less than and equal to] 2.5 microm; PM(2.5)), which is primarily from combustion sources, but not coarse particle mass, which is primarily from crustal sources, was associated with daily mortality in six eastern U.S. cities (1). In this study, we used the elemental composition of size-fractionated particles to identify several distinct source-related fractions of fine particles and examined the association of these fractions with daily mortality in each of the six cities. Using specific rotation factor analysis for each city, we identified a silicon factor classified as soil and crustal material, a lead factor classified as motor vehicle exhaust, a selenium factor representing coal combustion, and up to two additional factors. We extracted daily counts of deaths from National Center for Health Statistics records and estimated city-specific associations of mortality with each source factor by Poisson regression, adjusting for time trends, weather, and the other source factors. Combined effect estimates were calculated as the inverse variance weighted mean of the city-specific estimates. In the combined analysis, a 10 microg/m(3) increase in PM(2.5) from mobile sources accounted for a 3.4% increase in daily mortality [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.7-5.2%], and the equivalent increase in fine particles from coal combustion sources accounted for a 1.1% increase [CI, 0.3-2.0%). PM(2.5) crustal particles were not associated with daily mortality. These results indicate that combustion particles in the fine fraction from mobile and coal combustion sources, but not fine crustal particles, are associated with increased mortality.
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              Increased damage from fires in logged forests during droughts caused by El Niño.

              In 1997-98, fires associated with an exceptional drought caused by the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) devastated large areas of tropical rain forests worldwide. Evidence suggests that in tropical rainforest environments selective logging may lead to an increased susceptibility of forests to fire. We investigated whether this was true in the Indonesian fires, the largest fire disaster ever observed. We performed a multiscale analysis using coarse- and high-resolution optical and radar satellite imagery assisted by ground and aerial surveys to assess the extent of the fire-damaged area and the effect on vegetation in East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. A total of 5.2 +/- 0.3 million hectares including 2.6 million hectares of forest was burned with varying degrees of damage. Forest fires primarily affected recently logged forests; primary forests or those logged long ago were less affected. These results support the hypothesis of positive feedback between logging and fire occurrence. The fires severely damaged the remaining forests and significantly increased the risk of recurrent fire disasters by leaving huge amounts of dead flammable wood.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Atmospheric Research
                Atmospheric Research
                Elsevier BV
                01698095
                March 2013
                March 2013
                : 122
                :
                : 571-578
                Article
                10.1016/j.atmosres.2012.05.024
                42677f16-65d2-46e3-8e38-9adde9f56739
                © 2013

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