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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Interactions between fire, biosphere and atmosphere in a coupled vegetation-climate system


Fire plays an important role in vegetation dynamics, in biogeochemical cycles, and fire-related emissions have important impacts on atmospheric chemistry and radiative forcing. The impact of fire-related trace gas and aerosol emissions on the atmosphere ha s been estimated using a variety of modelling tools. Progress in understanding the role of fire and fire-related emissions within the coupled vegetation-climate system clearly requires a full coupling between these various components. The proposal aims to couple an existing fire model into a vegetation-climate model, which can then investigate effects of fire on both, climate and vegetation dynamics. The coupled model will be validated against contemporary and palaeoenvironmental data. Palaeoenvironmental r econstructions reveal open scientific issues relating to the source/sink distribution of major trace gases from the last glacial maximum to the present. The role of fire has not been examined with respect to changes in the oxidization capacity of the atmos phere and potential climate feedbacks. During the project, simulation experiments will be conducted for three palaeoclimate time periods to better understand the behaviour of the Earth System under changing climate conditions. This knowledge is very import ant for projections about future climate change and their implications for the global carbon cycle as well as climate policy. The project will be conducted in cooperation with scientists from relevant fields at Bristol University, UK. Simulated estimates o f biomass burning will be provided with consistent climate data for future applications in Chemistry Transport Models, which until now cannot consider the influence of interannual climate variability and vegetation dynamics. This product will allow further investigations of transient climate changes since the Last Glacial Maximum as well as improve projections of future climate change.

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