The SAFIRED (Savannah Fires in the Early Dry Season) campaign took place from 29th of May, 2014 until the 30th June, 2014 at the Australian Tropical Atmospheric Research Station (ATARS) in the Northern Territory, Australia. The purpose of this campaign was to investigate emissions from fires in the early dry season in northern Australia. Measurements were made of biomass burning aerosols, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic carbons, greenhouse gases, radon, mercury cycle, and trace metals. Aspects of the biomass burning aerosol emissions investigated included; emission factors of various emitted species, physical and chemical aerosol properties, aerosol aging, micronutrient supply to the ocean, nucleation, and aerosol water uptake. Over the course of the month-long campaign, biomass burning signals were prevalent and emissions from several large single burning events were observed at ATARS.
Biomass burning emissions dominated the gas and aerosol concentrations in this region. Nine major biomass burning events were identified and associated with intense or close individual smoke plumes. Dry season fires are extremely frequent and widespread across the northern region of Australia, which suggests that the measured aerosol and gaseous emissions at ATARS are likely representative of signals across the entire region of north Australia. Air mass forward trajectories show that these biomass burning emissions are carried north west over the Timor Sea and could influence the atmosphere over Indonesia and the tropical atmosphere over the Indian Ocean.
The outcomes of this campaign will be numerous. This region is an environment with little human impact and provides a unique look into the characteristics of biomass burning aerosol without the influence of other significant emission sources. Relationships between the aerosol physical and chemical properties, gas concentrations and meteorological data for the entire month will provide fundamental knowledge required to understand the influence of early dry season burning in this tropical region on the atmosphere. In this paper we present characteristics of the biomass burning observed at the sampling site and provide an overview of the more specific outcomes of the SAFIRED campaign.