S28 Impact of Wildfire Suppression on Direct Wildfire Carbon Emission

Sunday, 6 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Bo Chen, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; and N. Zeng and S. T. Howe

Understanding the sinks and sources of carbon is crucial to stabilizing carbon dioxide concentrations. Fire is a significant natural source of carbon emission and plays an important role in the global carbon cycle. Wildfire suppression has been widely used to stop, contain, and mitigate wildfire activities and damages. By affecting wildfire activities, suppression has a significant impact on the natural state of wildfire carbon emissions. Observations, models, and emission inventories provide useful data to study these emissions. Observations like MODIS Active Fire and Burned Area Product provide satellite observational data on the fire activity. The Vegetation-Global-Atmosphere-Soil model (VEGAS) has a fire module to dynamically simulate carbon emissions from the fire without actually using fire observational data. A fire emission inventory, the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED), estimates the emission of various gases due to the fire including carbon based on satellite active fire and burned area data, fuel load, and emission factors. Disagreement between VEGAS and GFED can be attributed to the wildfire suppression which is not considered as a factor in the VEGAS model estimation. As a result, the fire carbon emission estimation of VEGAS and GFED correlate differently among areas where wildfire management practices vary. Mapping out the impact of wildfire suppression on the direct carbon emission is possible by comparing the VEGAS and the GFED estimation.
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