Overview

Reconstructing regional BuRnt Areas from microcharcoal preserved In marine SEdiments

​​Large uncertainties remain in understanding the evolution of fire activity under projected warming scenarios because fire is a complex process to integrate into global modelling. Empirical models used for projections lack potential changes in the interaction between climate, vegetation and fire. Process-based models of the coupled vegetation-fire system provide new tools to address this issue. Evaluating those models against benchmark datasets from charcoal sediment records, outside of the modern climate conditions range, is necessary. Charcoal, a fire proxy, is a carbonaceous material formed by pyrolysis during the combustion process of vegetation.

Long marine charcoal records capture regional-scale biomass burning over a large range of natural climate variability, i.e. multiple warm and cold climate states. However, they describe only the response in the relative level of fire. The development of comprehensive data-model comparison studies is limited by the lack of common physical units between data and model output: relative changes in “fire” are not directly comparable to simulated carbon emissions or burnt areas.

BRAISE intends to address the link between charcoal accumulation in marine sediments and fire regimes, i.e developing fire proxy calibration, to progress the interpretation of charcoal in a marine depositional context and, as a result, the knowledge of past regional fire regimes over long time scale.

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© by Philip Higuera

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© by Philip Higuera

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© by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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© by Anne-Laure Daniau