Fire dynamics during the 20th century simulated by the Community Land Model
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): S. Kloster; Natalie M. Mahowald; J. T. Randerson; P. E. Thornton; Forrest M. Hoffman; S. Levis; P. J. Lawrence; J. J. Feddema; Keith W. Oleson; D. M. Lawrence
Publication Year: 2010

Cataloging Information

  • aerosols
  • Africa
  • air quality
  • carbon
  • deforestation
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire size
  • fire suppression
  • fuel loading
  • ignition
  • land management
  • land use
  • population density
  • remote sensing
  • season of fire
  • South America
  • suppression
  • wildfires
  • wood
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 6, 2021
FRAMES Record Number: 48665
Tall Timbers Record Number: 24846
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Fire is an integral Earth System process that interacts with climate in multiple ways. Here we assessed the parametrization of fires in the Community Land Model (CLM-CN) and improved the ability of the model to reproduce contemporary global patterns of burned areas and fire emissions. In addition to wildfires we extended CLM-CN to account for fires related to deforestation. We compared contemporary fire carbon emissions predicted by the model to satellite-based estimates in terms of magnitude and spatial extent as well as interannual and seasonal variability. Long-term trends during the 20th century were compared with historical estimates. Overall we found the best agreement between simulation and observations for the fire parametrization based on the work by Arora and Boer (2005). We obtained substantial improvement when we explicitly considered human caused ignition and fire suppression as a function of population density. Simulated fire carbon emissions ranged between 2.0 and 2.4 Pg C/year for the period 1997-2004. Regionally the simulations had a low bias over Africa and a high bias over South America when compared to satellite-based products. The net terrestrial carbon source due to land use change for the 1990s was 1.2 Pg C/year with 11% stemming from deforestation fires. During 2000-2004 this flux decreased to 0.85 Pg C/year with a similar relative contribution from deforestation fires. Between 1900 and 1960 we predicted a slight downward trend in global fire emissions caused by reduced fuels as a consequence of wood harvesting and also by increases in fire suppression. The model predicted an upward trend during the last three decades of the 20th century as a result of climate variations and large burning events associated with ENSO-induced drought conditions. © Authors 2010.

Online Link(s):
Kloster, S. et al. 2010. Fire dynamics during the 20th century simulated by the Community Land Model. Biogeosciences, v. 7, no. 6, p. 1877-1902. 10.5194/bg-7-1877-2010.