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Estimating wildfire-attributed boreal forest burn in Central and Eastern Siberia during summer of 2016

Cerniauskas, Martynas LU (2017) In Student thesis series INES NGEK01 20171
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract
Changing climate affects various ecosystem processes within the boreal forest, wildfire among them. Meanwhile temperature is commonly accepted as one of the most important regulating factors. In the context of 2016 being the warmest year in observational history, this review attempts to identify changes in wildfire extent within the central and south-eastern Siberian taiga. Satellite based estimates for late spring and early summer of 2016 quantify total burned area as being just over 39400 km2. July is identified as the month contributing most, showing burn extents over 7 times higher than June. The midsummer increase is hypothesized to be governed by mostly local scale weather conditions, temperature among them, but specific processes... (More)
Changing climate affects various ecosystem processes within the boreal forest, wildfire among them. Meanwhile temperature is commonly accepted as one of the most important regulating factors. In the context of 2016 being the warmest year in observational history, this review attempts to identify changes in wildfire extent within the central and south-eastern Siberian taiga. Satellite based estimates for late spring and early summer of 2016 quantify total burned area as being just over 39400 km2. July is identified as the month contributing most, showing burn extents over 7 times higher than June. The midsummer increase is hypothesized to be governed by mostly local scale weather conditions, temperature among them, but specific processes remain a topic of further investigation. Comparison with historical data from 2001 and 2002 reveals a positive trend in total burned area. The trend is partially attributed to a 65% increase in global surface temperature anomaly between the two study periods. Reviews of climate projections reveal that wildfires will have strong impacts on the future shape of the boreal forest ecosystem. Additionally, wildfire regime alterations are predicted to change how boreal forests contribute to the global carbon balance. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Estimating wildfire extent in Siberia during the early summer of 2016

Wildfire extent is known to increase with higher air temperatures. This thesis investigates whether widespread 2016 fires can be attributed to highest global temperature anomaly ever recorded.

In the context of 2016 being the warmest year in observational history, this thesis attempted to investigate changes in wildfire extent within the central and south-eastern Siberian taiga. Using satellite based data, total burned area throughout May, June and July of 2016 in parts of the Siberian taiga has been estimated at just over 39400 km2, nearly the size of Switzerland. It was clear that most intensive wildfires raged throughout July. Burn extents for this month were... (More)
Estimating wildfire extent in Siberia during the early summer of 2016

Wildfire extent is known to increase with higher air temperatures. This thesis investigates whether widespread 2016 fires can be attributed to highest global temperature anomaly ever recorded.

In the context of 2016 being the warmest year in observational history, this thesis attempted to investigate changes in wildfire extent within the central and south-eastern Siberian taiga. Using satellite based data, total burned area throughout May, June and July of 2016 in parts of the Siberian taiga has been estimated at just over 39400 km2, nearly the size of Switzerland. It was clear that most intensive wildfires raged throughout July. Burn extents for this month were over 7 times higher than those in June. This strong increase is believed to be caused by anomalously dry and warm local weather conditions, however confidence is partially lacking and further investigations are needed to pinpoint exact reasons behind the intensive July burns. Comparing 2016 wildfires with historical data from 2001 and 2002 revealed that general extent of burned area has been increasing since the start of the century and fires in 2016 damaged an area that was over 2.6 times higher than in 2001 and 2002. However, this increase was most likely overestimated because the chosen study area did not cover all wildfires in 2001 and 2002. As a result, the increases in burned area cannot be fully attributed to increasing global temperature anomalies between the two study periods. Reviews of climate projections revealed that wildfires will have strong impacts on the future shape of the boreal forest ecosystem, as climate change alters wildfire seasons and intensities. Additionally, these alterations are predicted to change how boreal forests contribute to the global carbon balance. (Less)
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author
Cerniauskas, Martynas LU
supervisor
organization
course
NGEK01 20171
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
climate change, burned area, taiga, Siberia, boreal forest, physical geography, wildfire, MODIS, remote sensing, carbon cycle
publication/series
Student thesis series INES
report number
417
language
English
id
8915035
date added to LUP
2017-06-15 17:10:02
date last changed
2017-06-16 17:26:24
@misc{8915035,
  abstract     = {Changing climate affects various ecosystem processes within the boreal forest, wildfire among them. Meanwhile temperature is commonly accepted as one of the most important regulating factors. In the context of 2016 being the warmest year in observational history, this review attempts to identify changes in wildfire extent within the central and south-eastern Siberian taiga. Satellite based estimates for late spring and early summer of 2016 quantify total burned area as being just over 39400 km2. July is identified as the month contributing most, showing burn extents over 7 times higher than June. The midsummer increase is hypothesized to be governed by mostly local scale weather conditions, temperature among them, but specific processes remain a topic of further investigation. Comparison with historical data from 2001 and 2002 reveals a positive trend in total burned area. The trend is partially attributed to a 65% increase in global surface temperature anomaly between the two study periods. Reviews of climate projections reveal that wildfires will have strong impacts on the future shape of the boreal forest ecosystem. Additionally, wildfire regime alterations are predicted to change how boreal forests contribute to the global carbon balance.},
  author       = {Cerniauskas, Martynas},
  keyword      = {climate change,burned area,taiga,Siberia,boreal forest,physical geography,wildfire,MODIS,remote sensing,carbon cycle},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Student thesis series INES},
  title        = {Estimating wildfire-attributed boreal forest burn in Central and Eastern Siberia during summer of 2016},
  year         = {2017},
}