Historic global biomass burning emissions for CMIP6 (BB4CMIP) based on merging satellite observations with proxies and fire models (1750-2015)

Margreet J.E. Van Marle, Silvia Kloster, Brian I. Magi, Jennifer R. Marlon, Anne Laure Daniau, Robert D. Field, Almut Arneth, Matthew Forrest, Stijn Hantson, Natalie M. Kehrwald, Wolfgang Knorr, Gitta Lasslop, Fang Li, Stéphane Mangeon, Chao Yue, Johannes W. Kaiser, Guido R. Van Der Werf

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Fires have influenced atmospheric composition and climate since the rise of vascular plants, and satellite data have shown the overall global extent of fires. Our knowledge of historic fire emissions has progressively improved over the past decades due mostly to the development of new proxies and the improvement of fire models. Currently, there is a suite of proxies including sedimentary charcoal records, measurements of fire-emitted trace gases and black carbon stored in ice and firn, and visibility observations. These proxies provide opportunities to extrapolate emission estimates back in time based on satellite data starting in 1997, but each proxy has strengths and weaknesses regarding, for example, the spatial and temporal extents over which they are representative. We developed a new historic biomass burning emissions dataset starting in 1750 that merges the satellite record with several existing proxies and uses the average of six models from the Fire Model Intercomparison Project (FireMIP) protocol to estimate emissions when the available proxies had limited coverage. According to our approach, global biomass burning emissions were relatively constant, with 10-year averages varying between 1.8 and 2.3 PgC yr-1. Carbon emissions increased only slightly over the full time period and peaked during the 1990s after which they decreased gradually. There is substantial uncertainty in these estimates, and patterns varied depending on choices regarding data representation, especially on regional scales. The observed pattern in fire carbon emissions is for a large part driven by African fires, which accounted for 58% of global fire carbon emissions. African fire emissions declined since about 1950 due to conversion of savanna to cropland, and this decrease is partially compensated for by increasing emissions in deforestation zones of South America and Asia. These global fire emission estimates are mostly suited for global analyses and will be used in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3329-3357
Number of pages29
JournalGeoscientific Model Development
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2017

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Coupled Model
Biomass
biomass burning
Merging
Fires
Satellites
Carbon
carbon emission
Model
Estimate
satellite data
Observation
observation satellite
CMIP
Atmospheric composition
Deforestation
Extrapolate
firn
Charcoal
black carbon

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Van Marle, Margreet J.E. ; Kloster, Silvia ; Magi, Brian I. ; Marlon, Jennifer R. ; Daniau, Anne Laure ; Field, Robert D. ; Arneth, Almut ; Forrest, Matthew ; Hantson, Stijn ; Kehrwald, Natalie M. ; Knorr, Wolfgang ; Lasslop, Gitta ; Li, Fang ; Mangeon, Stéphane ; Yue, Chao ; Kaiser, Johannes W. ; Van Der Werf, Guido R. / Historic global biomass burning emissions for CMIP6 (BB4CMIP) based on merging satellite observations with proxies and fire models (1750-2015). In: Geoscientific Model Development. 2017 ; Vol. 10, No. 9. pp. 3329-3357.
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abstract = "Fires have influenced atmospheric composition and climate since the rise of vascular plants, and satellite data have shown the overall global extent of fires. Our knowledge of historic fire emissions has progressively improved over the past decades due mostly to the development of new proxies and the improvement of fire models. Currently, there is a suite of proxies including sedimentary charcoal records, measurements of fire-emitted trace gases and black carbon stored in ice and firn, and visibility observations. These proxies provide opportunities to extrapolate emission estimates back in time based on satellite data starting in 1997, but each proxy has strengths and weaknesses regarding, for example, the spatial and temporal extents over which they are representative. We developed a new historic biomass burning emissions dataset starting in 1750 that merges the satellite record with several existing proxies and uses the average of six models from the Fire Model Intercomparison Project (FireMIP) protocol to estimate emissions when the available proxies had limited coverage. According to our approach, global biomass burning emissions were relatively constant, with 10-year averages varying between 1.8 and 2.3 PgC yr-1. Carbon emissions increased only slightly over the full time period and peaked during the 1990s after which they decreased gradually. There is substantial uncertainty in these estimates, and patterns varied depending on choices regarding data representation, especially on regional scales. The observed pattern in fire carbon emissions is for a large part driven by African fires, which accounted for 58{\%} of global fire carbon emissions. African fire emissions declined since about 1950 due to conversion of savanna to cropland, and this decrease is partially compensated for by increasing emissions in deforestation zones of South America and Asia. These global fire emission estimates are mostly suited for global analyses and will be used in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) simulations.",
author = "{Van Marle}, {Margreet J.E.} and Silvia Kloster and Magi, {Brian I.} and Marlon, {Jennifer R.} and Daniau, {Anne Laure} and Field, {Robert D.} and Almut Arneth and Matthew Forrest and Stijn Hantson and Kehrwald, {Natalie M.} and Wolfgang Knorr and Gitta Lasslop and Fang Li and St{\'e}phane Mangeon and Chao Yue and Kaiser, {Johannes W.} and {Van Der Werf}, {Guido R.}",
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Van Marle, MJE, Kloster, S, Magi, BI, Marlon, JR, Daniau, AL, Field, RD, Arneth, A, Forrest, M, Hantson, S, Kehrwald, NM, Knorr, W, Lasslop, G, Li, F, Mangeon, S, Yue, C, Kaiser, JW & Van Der Werf, GR 2017, 'Historic global biomass burning emissions for CMIP6 (BB4CMIP) based on merging satellite observations with proxies and fire models (1750-2015)' Geoscientific Model Development, vol. 10, no. 9, pp. 3329-3357. https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-10-3329-2017

Historic global biomass burning emissions for CMIP6 (BB4CMIP) based on merging satellite observations with proxies and fire models (1750-2015). / Van Marle, Margreet J.E.; Kloster, Silvia; Magi, Brian I.; Marlon, Jennifer R.; Daniau, Anne Laure; Field, Robert D.; Arneth, Almut; Forrest, Matthew; Hantson, Stijn; Kehrwald, Natalie M.; Knorr, Wolfgang; Lasslop, Gitta; Li, Fang; Mangeon, Stéphane; Yue, Chao; Kaiser, Johannes W.; Van Der Werf, Guido R.

In: Geoscientific Model Development, Vol. 10, No. 9, 11.09.2017, p. 3329-3357.

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Van Marle, Margreet J.E.

AU - Kloster, Silvia

AU - Magi, Brian I.

AU - Marlon, Jennifer R.

AU - Daniau, Anne Laure

AU - Field, Robert D.

AU - Arneth, Almut

AU - Forrest, Matthew

AU - Hantson, Stijn

AU - Kehrwald, Natalie M.

AU - Knorr, Wolfgang

AU - Lasslop, Gitta

AU - Li, Fang

AU - Mangeon, Stéphane

AU - Yue, Chao

AU - Kaiser, Johannes W.

AU - Van Der Werf, Guido R.

PY - 2017/9/11

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N2 - Fires have influenced atmospheric composition and climate since the rise of vascular plants, and satellite data have shown the overall global extent of fires. Our knowledge of historic fire emissions has progressively improved over the past decades due mostly to the development of new proxies and the improvement of fire models. Currently, there is a suite of proxies including sedimentary charcoal records, measurements of fire-emitted trace gases and black carbon stored in ice and firn, and visibility observations. These proxies provide opportunities to extrapolate emission estimates back in time based on satellite data starting in 1997, but each proxy has strengths and weaknesses regarding, for example, the spatial and temporal extents over which they are representative. We developed a new historic biomass burning emissions dataset starting in 1750 that merges the satellite record with several existing proxies and uses the average of six models from the Fire Model Intercomparison Project (FireMIP) protocol to estimate emissions when the available proxies had limited coverage. According to our approach, global biomass burning emissions were relatively constant, with 10-year averages varying between 1.8 and 2.3 PgC yr-1. Carbon emissions increased only slightly over the full time period and peaked during the 1990s after which they decreased gradually. There is substantial uncertainty in these estimates, and patterns varied depending on choices regarding data representation, especially on regional scales. The observed pattern in fire carbon emissions is for a large part driven by African fires, which accounted for 58% of global fire carbon emissions. African fire emissions declined since about 1950 due to conversion of savanna to cropland, and this decrease is partially compensated for by increasing emissions in deforestation zones of South America and Asia. These global fire emission estimates are mostly suited for global analyses and will be used in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) simulations.

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