Zambia: The Zambian International Biomass Burning Emissions Experiment (ZIBBEE) (IFFN No. 18 – January 1998)


The Zambian International BiomassBurning Emissions Experiment

(IFFN No. 18 – January 1998, p. 92-93)

The ZIBBEE experiment was organized in cooperation with the US Forest Service Fire Chemistry Laboratory, the Zambian Meteorology Department and NASA’s AERONET and EOS IDS program with the primary objectives to quantify the aerosol and trace gas fluxes from the Miombo woodlands of southern Africa. Embedded within this study are objectives to quantify the consumption of biomass (carbon) from biomass burning, validation of aerosol retrievals from various satellite sensors, and direct radiative forcing by biomass burning aerosols.

Experimental Design

The main focus was to measure the carbon flux from the massive amount of burning taking place to the east of the Western Province of Zambia, estimate direct radiative forcing due to smoke from biomass burning, and validate satellite aerosol retrievals. The measurement approach established a 400 km transect of ground based sun photometers orthogonal to the prevailing easterlies and to fly an in situ aerosol and trace gas sampling system in the transect to establish a 2-D measurement plain during a variety of meteorological and burning conditions. The ground-based measurement network remained in operation for the duration of the burning season. Appropriate satellite, meteorological and ancillary ground based data were collected.

Instrumentation Involved 

  • Four cimel automatic sun-sky scanning spectral radiometers were maintained at Sesheke, Senanga, Mongu and Zambezi. Solar flux measurements were established at Mongu, Zambezi, and Senanga.
  • Total column ozone and AOT from hand-held microtops instruments were established at Mongu, temporary, and mobile sites.
  • Low volume particulate mass samples were collected on Teflon filters with a six hour replacement schedule.
  • An additional site for automatic cimel measurements and microtops was established midway between Senanga and Mongu on flight days.
  • Automatic weather stations were established the previous year at Senanga, in Mongu and Zambezi by the USFS.
  • A 20 site network of 2-band hand-held sun photometers was established at and between the four principle sites.
  • A micropulse lidar (MPL) was deployed at Mongu for the continuous monitoring of the aerosol profile.

An airborne instrument package which included in situ measurements of ozone, aerosol filter samples, canister samples, WS, WD, relative humidity, CO, CO2, backscatter and location information was loaded onto a Cessna-206 and other small aircraft.

AVHRR imagery will be used to estimate radiative forcing, fire events, radiative properties of aerosols, aerosol optical depths and cloud droplet size distributions.

Participating institutions of ZIBBEE 

  • United States Forest Service, Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula – U.S.A
  • Zambian Meteorological Office, Mongu – Zambia
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt – U.S.A
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Alabama, Huntsville – U.S.A.

 Principle contact for ZIBBEE:


Darold E. Ward
Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory
US Forest Service
P.O. Box 8089
U.S.A. – Missoula, MT 59801

Fax: ++1-406-329-4863
Phone: ++1-406-329-4862

Country Notes


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