The effect of smoke from forest fires on climate is being studied by Tomsk scientists

Experiments to study forest and man-made fires are being carried out by Tomsk scientists. Their task is to understand how to predict the spread of a fire and to investigate the effects of smoke on the environment and climate. Large forest fires are not a problem of an area. Smoke clouds from them can extend to 5-6 thousand kilometers, sometimes turning into smoke on a planetary scale. Last year, for example, smoke from forest fires in Yakutia reached the Republic of Buryatia and the Irkutsk region, and two years earlier, due to fires in various parts of the country, the whole of Siberia was covered in smoke.

Studies on the properties of different types of tobacco are being carried out by scientists from the Atmospheric Optics Institute named after VE Zuev SB RAS with colleagues from the German Center for Health and Environment Research and the University of Rostock (Germany). The experiments are being carried out in the Large Aerosol Chamber of the Atmospheric Optics Institute in Tomsk. The volume of this chamber is almost two thousand cubic meters, there are two such facilities in Russia – in Tomsk and Obninsk. This camera allows you to simulate various phenomena that occur in the atmosphere. So scientists have already conducted experiments on it to create artificial rain and fog.

“The uniqueness of the camera is in its size. By simulating tobacco of different natures, we can not only measure their characteristics in the early stages of tobacco formation, but also see the “time sweep”, that is, understand how the properties of tobacco change over time, for example, in many days “,

Viktor Uzhegov, Senior Researcher at the Aerosol Optics Laboratory of the Atmospheric Optics Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with the Hour of Science program.

In addition, the Large Aerosol Chamber makes it possible to study changes that may occur, for example, in the atmosphere above the Arctic if smoke from Siberian fires reaches there. The Arctic region is currently considered the main indicator of climate change taking place on the planet.

“In the chamber, which is the largest photochemical reactor of constant volume in the world, the reconstruction of the photochemical processes that take place in the atmosphere during the combustion of biomass takes place. We are shaping the changes that may occur in the Arctic atmosphere with the arrival of smoke from Siberia, Yakutia, the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Irkutsk region. It is clear that consuming a large amount of tobacco aerosol is a strong stress for nature in this very vulnerable area. Air pollution from smoke aerosol particles is ambiguous and in some cases can lead to cooling of the atmosphere and in others, on the contrary, to its heating. “Therefore, it is necessary to conduct comprehensive studies in order to properly understand and document the effect of smoke particles on the Arctic radiation balance.”

– said Polina Zenkova, junior researcher at the IAO SB RAS optical aerosol laboratory.

Climate change, however small, can have a significant impact on people’s lives. For example, lead to droughts, floods, fires, tornadoes in those places for which these phenomena are not typical. Smoke from forest fires not only affects the climate, but also has a negative impact on the environment and human health. In the study of different types of tobacco, not only the chemical but also the natural ingredient is important.

“With each fraction of a degree, the frequency of physical hazards increases. For example, in Novosibirsk a few years ago they recorded such a phenomenon as a tropical rainfall. It all has to do with the comfort of people’s lives. Tobacco does not disperse on its own as long as it exists, chemical oxidation processes take place in them, organic substances appear. In addition, tobacco evolves, its composition, toxic and physical properties change. A large aerosol chamber is a very good photochemical reactor, it is large and the processes in it can be observed for a long time. “If a natural forest fire is unpredictable, then here, we are handling chemicals and fire clearly and confidently for the result.”

– said the senior researcher of the laser photochemistry laboratory of the Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion named VV Voevodsky SB RAS Alexander Kozlov.

During the experiment (photo by Elena Astafieva, courtesy of the IAO SB RAS Press Service).

How to stop the “fire rain”

Another Tomsk fire experiment aims to study the transport of burning and smoldering particles called “fire rain”. These studies are carried out in collaboration with the Atmospheric Optics Institute under the name VE Zuev SB RAS and Tomsk State University. The collaboration of scientific organizations arose several decades ago, when a disaster modeling and forecasting laboratory was opened at TSU. Then the scientists of the Atmospheric Optics Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences turned to their university colleagues with a suggestion to use infrared diagnosis of different types of flame.

“We came with a visual instrument. TSU employees mainly worked on fires with contact tools, for example, thermocouples, heat meters and more. We came up with optical methods, they are contactless, remote and do not affect the flame. With the help of infrared diagnostics, we obtained new parameters of different types of flame, combustion products.

– said Vladimir Reino, Senior Researcher at the IAO SB RAS Wave Propagation Laboratory, in an interview with the Hour of Science program.

According to scientists, the particles formed during large forest and man-made fires can be transported for several kilometers. Each of them can become the hearth of a new fire. Such fires are called “instantaneous”, the mechanism of their spread, scientists say, is not yet well understood.

“Our task is to analyze what these particles are and how many particles are needed to start a source of combustion. And how to understand how far the combustion center will go, depending on its intensity.

– said the senior researcher of the atmospheric state forecasting laboratory of IAO SB RAS, head. TSU MMF workshop Denis Kasymov in an interview in the program “Hour of Science”.

A few years ago, IOA SB RAS staff designed a generator of hot and glowing particles. The plant was named “Dragon”, unofficially, scientists call it Dragon Petrovich. This arrangement is covered by two patents.

The particle generator that burns and smokes – “Dragon Petrovich” (photo by Alexandra Fedoseeva, courtesy of the press service of the IOA SB RAS).

During a new phase of the project, scientists are examining how various building structures behave during “marked fires”. The results of the research will help to formulate requirements for the organization of fire prevention measures and manufacturers, in turn, will take into account the risk of “fire spots” when designing ventilation, roof and adjacent areas.

“To improve the fire protection of settlements, it is necessary to learn the patterns of ignition and combustion of various materials. “Our experiments aim to assess the vulnerability of wooden structures to burning and smoldering particles.”

said Denis Kasimov.

The research is planned to continue in the warm season in the field – on the territory of the Basic Experimental Group of the Atmospheric Optics Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

You can find out more about what Tomsk scientists are working on in the Hour of Science program on Rossiya 24.

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