Sensitivity of population smoke exposure to fire locations in Equatorial Asia

Patrick S. Kim, Daniel J. Jacob, Loretta J. Mickley, Shannon N. Koplitz, Miriam E. Marlier, Ruth S. DeFries, Samuel S. Myers, Boon Ning Chew, Yuhao H. Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High smoke concentrations in Equatorial Asia, primarily from land conversion to oil palm plantations, affect a densely populated region and represent a serious but poorly quantified air quality concern. Continued expansion of the oil palm industry is expected but the resulting population exposure to smoke is highly dependent on where this expansion takes place. We use the adjoint of the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model to map the sensitivity of smoke concentrations in major Equatorial Asian cities, and for the population-weighted region, to the locations of the fires. We find that fires in southern Sumatra are particularly detrimental, and that a land management policy protecting peatswamp forests in Southeast Sumatra would be of great air quality benefit. Our adjoint sensitivities can be used to immediately infer population exposure to smoke for any future fire emission scenario.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjoint
  • Conservation
  • Equatorial Asia
  • Fire
  • Palm oil
  • Population-exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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