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Publication . Other literature type . Preprint . 2020

Trends and spatial shifts in lightning fires and smoke concentrations in response to 21st century climate over the forests of the Western United States

Yang Li; Loretta J. Mickley; Pengfei Liu; Jed O. Kaplan;
Open Access
Published: 20 Feb 2020
Abstract. Almost US$ 3bn per year is appropriated for wildfire management on public land in the United States. Recent studies have suggested that ongoing climate change will lead to warmer and drier conditions in the Western United States with a consequent increase in the number and size of wildfires, yet large uncertainty exists in these projections. To assess the influence of future changes in climate and land cover on lightning-caused wildfires in National Forests and Parks of the Western United States and the consequences of these fires on air quality, we link a dynamic vegetation model that includes a process-based representation of fire (LPJ-LMfire) to a global chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem). Under a scenario of moderate future climate change (RCP4.5), increasing lightning-caused wildfire enhances the burden of smoke fine particulate matter (PM), with mass concentration increases of ~ 53 % by the late-21st century during the fire season. In a high-emissions scenario (RCP8.5), smoke PM concentrations double by 2100. RCP8.5 also shows large, northward shifts in dry matter burned, leading to enhanced lightning-caused fire activity especially over forests in the northern states.
Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Smoke Air quality index Physical geography Chemical transport model Vegetation Environmental science Climate change Public land Lightning Land cover