Crop residue burning in agricultural areas of the world adversely impacts public health, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs), and other aerosol emissions affecting regional air quality. The burning of crop residues contributes to at least one-third of global biomass burning emissions. While research has characterized emissions from burning of many types of crop residue across the globe, these analyses only provide rough estimates. To enable emissions mitigation, assessments need to be region-specific. An improved assessment of crop residue burning practices and the impact on emissions is useful for not only environmental sustainability and pollution concerns, but also for economic and social sustainability. For example, according to the World Health Organization, clean air is a human right and in several developing countries air quality is poor and highly degraded. To assess the contribution of crop residue burning practices on emissions and air quality in the Hanoi Capital Region of Vietnam, this research is conducted in three phases. 1) Due to the small nature of rice paddy fields, and aerosol/cloud coverage hampering optical satellite observations, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery is employed and evaluated for mapping paddy rice fields in the region. 2) Accurate measures of residue burning emissions not only rely on quality area maps, but also region-specif biomass factors. Through collaboration with the Vietnam National University in Hanoi, we conducted a bottom-up field survey on post-harvest rice biomass. We also evaluated different scenarios of residue burning to estimate the total emissions, as well as comparison to existing emissions inventory. 3) Ground surveys are costly and time consuming, accordingly, the data are useful for building or validating models. We are developing a model to estimate post-harvest rice residue using SAR imagery from the Sentinel-1 constellation.
Chris Justice (PhD Adviser)
Krishna Vadrevu (PhD Co-adviser)