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1.
Nature ; 597(7876): 366-369, 2021 09.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34526704

RESUMEN

Southeast Australia experienced intensive and geographically extensive wildfires during the 2019-2020 summer season1,2. The fires released substantial amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere3. However, existing emission estimates based on fire inventories are uncertain4, and vary by up to a factor of four for this event. Here we constrain emission estimates with the help of satellite observations of carbon monoxide5, an analytical Bayesian inversion6 and observed ratios between emitted carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide7. We estimate emissions of carbon dioxide to be 715 teragrams (range 517-867) from November 2019 to January 2020. This is more than twice the estimate derived by five different fire inventories8-12, and broadly consistent with estimates based on a bottom-up bootstrap analysis of this fire episode13. Although fires occur regularly in the savannas in northern Australia, the recent episodes were extremely large in scale and intensity, burning unusually large areas of eucalyptus forest in the southeast13. The fires were driven partly by climate change14,15, making better-constrained emission estimates particularly important. This is because the build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide may become increasingly dependent on fire-driven climate-carbon feedbacks, as highlighted by this event16.


Asunto(s)
Dióxido de Carbono/análisis , Imágenes Satelitales , Incendios Forestales/estadística & datos numéricos , Atmósfera/química , Australia , Teorema de Bayes , Monóxido de Carbono/análisis , Cambio Climático , Eucalyptus , Bosques , Pradera , Incertidumbre
2.
Glob Chang Biol ; 27(11): 2377-2391, 2021 Jun.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33694227

RESUMEN

Fires, among other forms of natural and anthropogenic disturbance, play a central role in regulating the location, composition and biomass of forests. Understanding the role of fire in global forest loss is crucial in constraining land-use change emissions and the global carbon cycle. We analysed the relationship between forest loss and fire at 500 m resolution based on satellite-derived data for the 2003-2018 period. Satellite fire data included burned area and active fire detections, to best account for large and small fires, respectively. We found that, on average, 38 ± 9% (± range) of global forest loss was associated with fire, and this fraction remained relatively stable throughout the study period. However, the fraction of fire-related forest loss varied substantially on a regional basis, and showed statistically significant trends in key tropical forest areas. Decreases in the fraction of fire-related forest loss were found where deforestation peaked early in our study period, including the Amazon and Indonesia while increases were found for tropical forests in Africa. The inclusion of active fire detections accounted for 41%, on average, of the total fire-related forest loss, with larger contributions in small clearings in interior tropical forests and human-dominated landscapes. Comparison to higher-resolution fire data with resolutions of 375 and 20 m indicated that commission errors due to coarse resolution fire data largely balanced out omission errors due to missed small fire detections for regional to continental-scale estimates of fire-related forest loss. Besides an improved understanding of forest dynamics, these findings may help to refine and separate fire-related and non-fire-related land-use change emissions in forested ecosystems.


Asunto(s)
Ecosistema , Incendios , África , Bosques , Humanos , Indonesia , Árboles
3.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(9)2021 03 02.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33619088

RESUMEN

Fires are a major contributor to atmospheric budgets of greenhouse gases and aerosols, affect soils and vegetation properties, and are a key driver of land use change. Since the 1990s, global burned area (BA) estimates based on satellite observations have provided critical insights into patterns and trends of fire occurrence. However, these global BA products are based on coarse spatial-resolution sensors, which are unsuitable for detecting small fires that burn only a fraction of a satellite pixel. We estimated the relevance of those small fires by comparing a BA product generated from Sentinel-2 MSI (Multispectral Instrument) images (20-m spatial resolution) with a widely used global BA product based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images (500 m) focusing on sub-Saharan Africa. For the year 2016, we detected 80% more BA with Sentinel-2 images than with the MODIS product. This difference was predominately related to small fires: we observed that 2.02 Mkm2 (out of a total of 4.89 Mkm2) was burned by fires smaller than 100 ha, whereas the MODIS product only detected 0.13 million km2 BA in that fire-size class. This increase in BA subsequently resulted in increased estimates of fire emissions; we computed 31 to 101% more fire carbon emissions than current estimates based on MODIS products. We conclude that small fires are a critical driver of BA in sub-Saharan Africa and that including those small fires in emission estimates raises the contribution of biomass burning to global burdens of (greenhouse) gases and aerosols.


Asunto(s)
Contaminantes Atmosféricos/análisis , Carbono/análisis , Monitoreo del Ambiente , Imágenes Satelitales , Incendios Forestales , África , Monitoreo del Ambiente/métodos , Incendios , Estaciones del Año
4.
J Adv Model Earth Syst ; 12(9): e2019MS001955, 2020 Sep.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33042387

RESUMEN

Fire emissions of gases and aerosols alter atmospheric composition and have substantial impacts on climate, ecosystem function, and human health. Warming climate and human expansion in fire-prone landscapes exacerbate fire impacts and call for more effective management tools. Here we developed a global fire forecasting system that predicts monthly emissions using past fire data and climate variables for lead times of 1 to 6 months. Using monthly fire emissions from the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED) as the prediction target, we fit a statistical time series model, the Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average model with eXogenous variables (ARIMAX), in over 1,300 different fire regions. Optimized parameters were then used to forecast future emissions. The forecast system took into account information about region-specific seasonality, long-term trends, recent fire observations, and climate drivers representing both large-scale climate variability and local fire weather. We cross-validated the forecast skill of the system with different combinations of predictors and forecast lead times. The reference model, which combined endogenous and exogenous predictors with a 1 month forecast lead time, explained 52% of the variability in the global fire emissions anomaly, considerably exceeding the performance of a reference model that assumed persistent emissions during the forecast period. The system also successfully resolved detailed spatial patterns of fire emissions anomalies in regions with significant fire activity. This study bridges the gap between the efforts of near-real-time fire forecasts and seasonal fire outlooks and represents a step toward establishing an operational global fire, smoke, and carbon cycle forecasting system.

5.
Nature ; 586(7828): 248-256, 2020 10.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33028999

RESUMEN

Nitrous oxide (N2O), like carbon dioxide, is a long-lived greenhouse gas that accumulates in the atmosphere. Over the past 150 years, increasing atmospheric N2O concentrations have contributed to stratospheric ozone depletion1 and climate change2, with the current rate of increase estimated at 2 per cent per decade. Existing national inventories do not provide a full picture of N2O emissions, owing to their omission of natural sources and limitations in methodology for attributing anthropogenic sources. Here we present a global N2O inventory that incorporates both natural and anthropogenic sources and accounts for the interaction between nitrogen additions and the biochemical processes that control N2O emissions. We use bottom-up (inventory, statistical extrapolation of flux measurements, process-based land and ocean modelling) and top-down (atmospheric inversion) approaches to provide a comprehensive quantification of global N2O sources and sinks resulting from 21 natural and human sectors between 1980 and 2016. Global N2O emissions were 17.0 (minimum-maximum estimates: 12.2-23.5) teragrams of nitrogen per year (bottom-up) and 16.9 (15.9-17.7) teragrams of nitrogen per year (top-down) between 2007 and 2016. Global human-induced emissions, which are dominated by nitrogen additions to croplands, increased by 30% over the past four decades to 7.3 (4.2-11.4) teragrams of nitrogen per year. This increase was mainly responsible for the growth in the atmospheric burden. Our findings point to growing N2O emissions in emerging economies-particularly Brazil, China and India. Analysis of process-based model estimates reveals an emerging N2O-climate feedback resulting from interactions between nitrogen additions and climate change. The recent growth in N2O emissions exceeds some of the highest projected emission scenarios3,4, underscoring the urgency to mitigate N2O emissions.


Asunto(s)
Óxido Nitroso/análisis , Óxido Nitroso/metabolismo , Agricultura , Atmósfera/química , Productos Agrícolas/metabolismo , Actividades Humanas , Internacionalidad , Nitrógeno/análisis , Nitrógeno/metabolismo
6.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30297466

RESUMEN

Southeast Asia, in particular Indonesia, has periodically struggled with intense fire events. These events convert substantial amounts of carbon stored as peat to atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and significantly affect atmospheric composition on a regional to global scale. During the recent 2015 El Niño event, peat fires led to strong enhancements of carbon monoxide (CO), an air pollutant and well-known tracer for biomass burning. These enhancements were clearly observed from space by the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) and the Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) instruments. We use these satellite observations to estimate CO fire emissions within an inverse modelling framework. We find that the derived CO emissions for each sub-region of Indonesia and Papua are substantially different from emission inventories, highlighting uncertainties in bottom-up estimates. CO fire emissions based on either MOPITT or IASI have a similar spatial pattern and evolution in time, and a 10% uncertainty based on a set of sensitivity tests we performed. Thus, CO satellite data have a high potential to complement existing operational fire emission estimates based on satellite observations of fire counts, fire radiative power and burned area, in better constraining fire occurrence and the associated conversion of peat carbon to atmospheric CO2 A total carbon release to the atmosphere of 0.35-0.60 Pg C can be estimated based on our results.This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'The impact of the 2015/2016 El Niño on the terrestrial tropical carbon cycle: patterns, mechanisms and implications'.


Asunto(s)
Contaminantes Atmosféricos/análisis , Monóxido de Carbono/análisis , Incendios , El Niño Oscilación del Sur , Indonesia , Tecnología de Sensores Remotos
7.
Global Biogeochem Cycles ; 31(1): 24-38, 2017 01.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28286373

RESUMEN

Consistent long-term estimates of fire emissions are important to understand the changing role of fire in the global carbon cycle and to assess the relative importance of humans and climate in shaping fire regimes. However, there is limited information on fire emissions from before the satellite era. We show that in the Amazon region, including the Arc of Deforestation and Bolivia, visibility observations derived from weather stations could explain 61% of the variability in satellite-based estimates of bottom-up fire emissions since 1997 and 42% of the variability in satellite-based estimates of total column carbon monoxide concentrations since 2001. This enabled us to reconstruct the fire history of this region since 1973 when visibility information became available. Our estimates indicate that until 1987 relatively few fires occurred in this region and that fire emissions increased rapidly over the 1990s. We found that this pattern agreed reasonably well with forest loss data sets, indicating that although natural fires may occur here, deforestation and degradation were the main cause of fires. Compared to fire emissions estimates based on Food and Agricultural Organization's Global Forest and Resources Assessment data, our estimates were substantially lower up to the 1990s, after which they were more in line. These visibility-based fire emissions data set can help constrain dynamic global vegetation models and atmospheric models with a better representation of the complex fire regime in this region.

8.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 113(33): 9204-9, 2016 08 16.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27482096

RESUMEN

The 2015 fire season and related smoke pollution in Indonesia was more severe than the major 2006 episode, making it the most severe season observed by the NASA Earth Observing System satellites that go back to the early 2000s, namely active fire detections from the Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS), MODIS aerosol optical depth, Terra Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) carbon monoxide (CO), Aqua Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) CO, Aura Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aerosol index, and Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) CO. The MLS CO in the upper troposphere showed a plume of pollution stretching from East Africa to the western Pacific Ocean that persisted for 2 mo. Longer-term records of airport visibility in Sumatra and Kalimantan show that 2015 ranked after 1997 and alongside 1991 and 1994 as among the worst episodes on record. Analysis of yearly dry season rainfall from the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) and rain gauges shows that, due to the continued use of fire to clear and prepare land on degraded peat, the Indonesian fire environment continues to have nonlinear sensitivity to dry conditions during prolonged periods with less than 4 mm/d of precipitation, and this sensitivity appears to have increased over Kalimantan. Without significant reforms in land use and the adoption of early warning triggers tied to precipitation forecasts, these intense fire episodes will reoccur during future droughts, usually associated with El Niño events.


Asunto(s)
Contaminación del Aire , Sequías , El Niño Oscilación del Sur , Incendios , Humo , Monóxido de Carbono/análisis , Indonesia , Factores de Tiempo
9.
Nature ; 509(7502): 600-3, 2014 May 29.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24847888

RESUMEN

The land and ocean act as a sink for fossil-fuel emissions, thereby slowing the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Although the uptake of carbon by oceanic and terrestrial processes has kept pace with accelerating carbon dioxide emissions until now, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations exhibit a large variability on interannual timescales, considered to be driven primarily by terrestrial ecosystem processes dominated by tropical rainforests. We use a terrestrial biogeochemical model, atmospheric carbon dioxide inversion and global carbon budget accounting methods to investigate the evolution of the terrestrial carbon sink over the past 30 years, with a focus on the underlying mechanisms responsible for the exceptionally large land carbon sink reported in 2011 (ref. 2). Here we show that our three terrestrial carbon sink estimates are in good agreement and support the finding of a 2011 record land carbon sink. Surprisingly, we find that the global carbon sink anomaly was driven by growth of semi-arid vegetation in the Southern Hemisphere, with almost 60 per cent of carbon uptake attributed to Australian ecosystems, where prevalent La Niña conditions caused up to six consecutive seasons of increased precipitation. In addition, since 1981, a six per cent expansion of vegetation cover over Australia was associated with a fourfold increase in the sensitivity of continental net carbon uptake to precipitation. Our findings suggest that the higher turnover rates of carbon pools in semi-arid biomes are an increasingly important driver of global carbon cycle inter-annual variability and that tropical rainforests may become less relevant drivers in the future. More research is needed to identify to what extent the carbon stocks accumulated during wet years are vulnerable to rapid decomposition or loss through fire in subsequent years.


Asunto(s)
Secuestro de Carbono , Clima Desértico , Ecosistema , Atmósfera/química , Australia , Dióxido de Carbono/análisis , El Niño Oscilación del Sur , Incendios , Modelos Teóricos , Lluvia , Estaciones del Año , Incertidumbre
10.
Science ; 324(5926): 481-4, 2009 Apr 24.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-19390038

RESUMEN

Fire is a worldwide phenomenon that appears in the geological record soon after the appearance of terrestrial plants. Fire influences global ecosystem patterns and processes, including vegetation distribution and structure, the carbon cycle, and climate. Although humans and fire have always coexisted, our capacity to manage fire remains imperfect and may become more difficult in the future as climate change alters fire regimes. This risk is difficult to assess, however, because fires are still poorly represented in global models. Here, we discuss some of the most important issues involved in developing a better understanding of the role of fire in the Earth system.


Asunto(s)
Ecosistema , Incendios , Animales , Evolución Biológica , Carbono , Clima , Planeta Tierra , Humanos , Plantas
11.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 104(48): 18925-30, 2007 Nov 27.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-18045791

RESUMEN

We present an estimate of net CO(2) exchange between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere across North America for every week in the period 2000 through 2005. This estimate is derived from a set of 28,000 CO(2) mole fraction observations in the global atmosphere that are fed into a state-of-the-art data assimilation system for CO(2) called CarbonTracker. By design, the surface fluxes produced in CarbonTracker are consistent with the recent history of CO(2) in the atmosphere and provide constraints on the net carbon flux independent from national inventories derived from accounting efforts. We find the North American terrestrial biosphere to have absorbed -0.65 PgC/yr (1 petagram = 10(15) g; negative signs are used for carbon sinks) averaged over the period studied, partly offsetting the estimated 1.85 PgC/yr release by fossil fuel burning and cement manufacturing. Uncertainty on this estimate is derived from a set of sensitivity experiments and places the sink within a range of -0.4 to -1.0 PgC/yr. The estimated sink is located mainly in the deciduous forests along the East Coast (32%) and the boreal coniferous forests (22%). Terrestrial uptake fell to -0.32 PgC/yr during the large-scale drought of 2002, suggesting sensitivity of the contemporary carbon sinks to climate extremes. CarbonTracker results are in excellent agreement with a wide collection of carbon inventories that form the basis of the first North American State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR), to be released in 2007. All CarbonTracker results are freely available at http://carbontracker.noaa.gov.


Asunto(s)
Atmósfera/análisis , Dióxido de Carbono/análisis , Monitoreo del Ambiente/instrumentación , Agricultura , Aire/análisis , Biomasa , Productos Agrícolas/metabolismo , Desastres , Incendios , Combustibles Fósiles , Efecto Invernadero , Actividades Humanas , América del Norte , Poaceae/metabolismo , Árboles/metabolismo
12.
Science ; 303(5654): 73-6, 2004 Jan 02.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-14704424

RESUMEN

During the 1997 to 1998 El Niño, drought conditions triggered widespread increases in fire activity, releasing CH4 and CO2 to the atmosphere. We evaluated the contribution of fires from different continents to variability in these greenhouse gases from 1997 to 2001, using satellite-based estimates of fire activity, biogeochemical modeling, and an inverse analysis of atmospheric CO anomalies. During the 1997 to 1998 El Niño, the fire emissions anomaly was 2.1 +/- 0.8 petagrams of carbon, or 66 +/- 24% of the CO2 growth rate anomaly. The main contributors were Southeast Asia (60%), Central and South America (30%), and boreal regions of Eurasia and North America (10%).

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