Related Research Areas
Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems, Climate Variability & Change

The circumpolar boreal zone is a region of global significance in terms of climate change impacts and carbon storage. Wildfires are the dominant disturbance regime in boreal forests, burning 10 to 25 million hectares per year. These fires are a significant source of atmospheric trace gases and aerosols, which can significantly influence the chemical composition of the atmosphere and the Earth's climate. As a result of projected climate changes, fire activity and emissions are projected to increase substantially in the boreal zone. Projecting future fire regimes and impacts of fire on carbon storage and atmospheric chemistry under a changing climate requires baseline data on fire activity that can be coupled with weather data and emission data to quantify past fire effects. This information can then be linked to outputs of climate models and projections of potential future vegetation change to predict future burned areas, fire severity and impacts on carbon storage, carbon emissions, atmospheric chemistry and global climate. As a minimum of 25 years of record is required to develop robust past fire activity/weather relationships, we propose combining recent MODIS satellite data (2001-2008) with fire records reconstructed through analysis of archived satellite imagery for 1980-1995. These data will be integrated with fire weather indices, experimental data on emissions developed through the FIRE BEAR project, vegetation maps, and forest inventory data to estimate burned areas, fire severity, and emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols from fires in Siberia, Russia from 1980 to 2010. In addition, we propose to reconstruct estimates of past burned areas for selected sub-regions back to the 19th and 20th centuries using dendrochronology data and calibration techniques recently demonstrated in the western United States and Canada. These reconstructions will be spatially explicit and will provide insight into regional-scale fire/climate relationships over several decades and centuries. The dendrochronology data will also allow us to place the 30-year satellite-based data on burned areas and fire severity in context of longer time scales. The historical relationships derived through this work will be used to provide a basis for projecting the future effects of changing climate on fire patterns, emissions, and carbon cycle in Siberia. Our goals for this project are to: 1)Complete a 30-year (1980-2010) satellite-based geospatial record of burned areas for Siberia; 2)Integrate satellite derived burned areas with geospatial data and models of vegetation, fuels, and fire/climate relationships to estimate fire severity, fuel consumption, emissions, and ecosystem impacts of fires; 3)Use the 30-year burned area dataset to calibrate longer term tree-ring chronology time series of burned areas for subregions; 4)Use both modern and paleo-fire reconstructions to evaluate relationships with changing climate patterns, variations in vegetation and fire weather patterns to estimate historic fire emissions and impacts of fire on carbon cycle at landscape to regional scales; 5)Project potential impacts of climate change on burned area, fire severity and carbon cycle.

Project PI: Susan Conard/United States Forest Service

35 Piper Stram Rd. Northport 04849 Maine United States

Phone: (207)338-1294

Fax: (207)338-1294



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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 15, 2010


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