Review of emissions from smouldering peat fires and their contribution to regional haze episodes
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHu, Y., Fernandez-Anez, N., Smith, T. E. L. & Rein, G. (2018). Review of emissions from smouldering peat fires and their contribution to regional haze episodes. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 27(5), 293-312. 10.1071/WF17084
Smouldering peat fires, the largest fires on Earth in terms of fuel consumption, are reported in six continents and are responsible for regional haze episodes. Haze is the large-scale accumulation of smoke at low altitudes in the atmosphere. It decreases air quality, disrupts transportation and causes health emergencies. Research on peat emissions and haze is modest at best and many key aspects remain poorly understood. Here, we compile an up-to-date inter-study of peat fire emission factors (EFs) found in the literature both from laboratory and from field studies. Tropical peat fires yield larger EFs for the prominent organic compounds than boreal and temperate peat fires, possibly due to the higher fuel carbon content (56.0 vs 44.2%). In contrast, tropical peat fires present slightly lower EFs for particulate matter with diameter ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5) for unknown reasons but are probably related to combustion dynamics. An analysis of the modified combustion efficiency, a parameter widely used for determining the combustion regime of wildfires, shows it is partially misunderstood and highly sensitive to unknown field variables. This is the first review of the literature on smouldering peat emissions. Our integration of the existing literature allows the identification of existing gaps in knowledge and is expected to accelerate progress towards mitigation strategies.