Biomass burning is an important source of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CO, CH4, H2, CH3Cl, NO, HCN, CH3CN, COS, etc) and aerosols. In particular, atmospheric aerosols released from biomass burning can interact with solar radiation directly, through scattering and absorption processes, and indirectly through the modulation of cloud properties. Aerosols containing absorbing material such as black carbon (soot) may reduce cloud cover and liquid water through an increase in atmospheric heating rates by absorption of solar radiation. With the recent identification of biomass burning as one of the key factors affecting water cycle in the Asian region, spatially explicit emissions inventory is urgently needed from this region.
In the Asian region, the current estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and aerosols from biomass burning are severely constrained by the lack of reliable statistics on fire distribution and frequency, and the lack of accurate estimates of area burned, fuel load, etc. The most practical and economically feasible way for monitoring the biomass burning is through remote sensing. Remote sensing technology with its unique multi-temporal and repetitive coverage can aid in quantifying emissions from biomass burning. In addition to top-down approaches involving remote sensing technologies, quantifying the emissions from bottom-up methodologies is also important as satellite sensors are not capable to detect relatively small scale emissions such as from cooking stoves, smelters, other biofuels etc. In this study, we are focusing on different biomass burning regions of Asia integrating satellite remote sensing, field data and robust downscaling methodologies to arrive at spatially explicit emission products useful to address the impact of biomass burning on the Asian water cycle.