2E: ACCORD activities: Fire Data Analysis Workshop

Both the 2015 summary from the ACCORD (Atmospheric Chemistry Center for Observational Research and Data) workshop and the more recent (2016) National Academies of Sciences (NAS) report “The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research” encourage the ‘mining’ of previously-obtained field data to advance atmospheric chemistry research.  For example, the NAS report provides the recommendation that “The National Science Foundation should encourage mining and integration of measurements and model results that can merge and exploit past datasets to provide insight into atmospheric processes, as we as guide planning of future studies.

In support of these recommendations, NCAR ACOM scientists hosted a Fire Data Analysis Workshop, July 13-14, 2017 in Boulder, with a focus on addressing science questions associated with biomass burning and the atmosphere.  The workshop was attended by approximately 50 scientists, the vast majority of them early-career. The overall goals of this workshop were to:

  • Discuss science questions associated with biomass burning.
  • Learn about existing datasets that can be used for data mining and analysis.
  • Train on tools and models for data analysis.
  • Develop collaboration and networking opportunities with other scientists.


There is tremendous current research activity associated with understanding the emissions, chemistry and impacts from biomass burning. The next few years will include field campaigns such as WE-CAN, FIREX, FASMEE, and FIREChem.  In preparation of upcoming campaigns and in support of on-going scientific efforts, the workshop provided an opportunity for students and researchers to interact with others studying biomass burning, to identify past campaign datasets for analysis, and to receive training on these datasets and tools to manage and analyze them.

After a set of introductory lectures, attendees were split into smaller groups for training on various topics, including:  the IMPROVE dataset and related monitoring data and tools; the use of the BOXMOX modeling tool; tools for accessing and using aircraft campaign data and related model output; the processing of data with R; the fire emissions model FINN and how to use it; and satellite datasets and tools for using it.  ACOM scientists are indebted to Sean Raffuse (UC-Davis), Nick Good (CSU), and Jun Wang (U. Iowa) for leading some of these training sessions.

In addition to the training received by the cohort in attendance, the workshop provided a collegial environment for networking and development of collaborations and for the stimulation of further research into the impacts of biomass burning on the atmosphere.