IMPACT OF FOREST FIRE EMISSIONS ON AIR QUALITY OVER WESTERN HIMALAYA REGION
Keywords: Forest fire, Air quality, Sentinel 5 Precursor, Correlation, Western Himalaya
Abstract. Emissions from forest fires give out huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere degrading the surrounding air quality. Climate change results in prolonged summer days and less precipitation thus increasing fuel accumulation facilitating recurring forest fires in the Western Himalayan regions. Most of the forest fire cases are human ignited that damaging the forest irreparably. This study attempts to analyse the impact of the forest fire events on the tropospheric concentrations of five major gaseous pollutants aerosols, Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Formaldehyde (HCHO). A clear increase in daily average of the air pollutants considered in the study was observed as the number of forest fires were also increasing. The gases responded inversely with precipitation. Precipitation washed away majority of the air pollutants. The high-resolution air quality data were retrieved from the Google Earth Engine platform using Sentinel 5 Precursor datasets, daily active fire points from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument of Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) and daily precipitation data from CHIRPS Daily Version 2.0 Final. Four out of five gases i.e., CO, aerosols, NO2, HCHO pollutants gave moderate to high correlation values with the forest fire incidences. Air pollutants responded inversely with the precipitation pattern.