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Last update : 2013/04/16


CO2 emissions from tropical fires and their impact on climate: A two decade survey from space

Projet Blanc ANR 2010 LMD/LSCE Agence Nationale de la Recherche
Projet Blanc ANR 2010 LMD/LSCE Biomass burning is a large source of atmospheric CO2, CO, aerosols and chemically important gases and is a major component of the carbon cycle and Earth climate system. It directly drives most of the interannual variability in carbon greenhouse gases. It also has a direct influence on human societies in terms of pollution and habitat change. However, estimates of CO2 fire emissions still suffer from large uncertainties and the relationship between emissions, climate and anthopogenic activities is still uncertain. This is particularly true for the tropical region while most of the year-to-year variability in the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 originates there, and influences remote extra-tropical regions.

The TropFire project, funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR - Projet Blanc 2010), aims at deriving a new proxy of tropical fire activity based upon satellite observations of upper-air atmospheric CO2 and applying this dataset to reconstruct more than two decades of biomass burning emissions and their relationship with climate variability. This project combines the interpretation of observations made by infrared spaceborne sounders (TOVS and IASI) in terms of upper air diurnal cycle of CO2, the study of fire injection height using a new parameterization of convection induced by fire in the state-of-the-art atmospheric transport model LMDz, the estimation of CO2 surface fluxes where fire emissions will be constrained by satellite observation of CO2, and the study of future climate scenarios.

Through intensive use of observations from past and current satellites, this project contributes to the European initiative Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES). It builds on the results of three European integrated projects COCO, GEMS and MACC from which the first retrievals of CO2 from space observations have been obtained.

This project takes place in the exploitation of the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) mission developed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) in collaboration with the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).


The TropFire project is lead by the ARA/ABC(t) group of LMD. Two other teams participate to the project: the INVSAT team of the LSCE and the EMC3 team of LMD.


  • Thonat T., Crevoisier C., Scott N.A., Chédin A., Schuck T., Armante R. and Crépeau L., Retrieval of tropospheric CO column from hyperspectral infrared sounders - application to four years of Aqua/AIRS and MetOp-A/IASI doi:10.5194/amt-5-2413-2012


  • Meilhac N., Crevoisier C., Chédin A., Scott N.A., Armante R. and Crépeau L., Regional-scale correlation between CO2 fire emissions, burned areas, and mid-tropospheric CO2 diurnal variations retrieved from MetOp-A/ATOVS observations (2007-2011) over southern Africa (2013)
  • Thonat T., Crevoisier C., Chédin A., Armante R., Crépeau L. and Scott N.A., Study of biomass burning emissions with Aqua/AIRS and MetOp-A/IASI, EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, 22-27 April 2012
  • Thonat T., Crevoisier C., Scott N. A., Chédin A., Armante R. and Crépeau L., Study of biomass burning emissions with Aqua/AIRS and MetOp-A/IASI, ITSC 18 (Inter. TOVS Study Conf.), Toulouse, France, 21-27 March 2012

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