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Boreal forests and fires: at the beginning of a new era?
Mollicone D
Forest@ , 2007, DOI: -
Abstract: A comment is provided on recent papers published in some major scientific journals, dealing with the problem of the increasing frequency of fires in boreal regions. Climatic causes and ecological consequences, in terms of ecosystem competition and forest carbon balance, are discussed.
Scale and Sensitivity of Songbird Occurrence to Landscape Structure in a Harvested Boreal Forest  [cached]
Philip D. Taylor,Meg A. Krawchuk
Avian Conservation and Ecology , 2005,
Abstract: To explore the spatial scales at which boreal forest birds respond to landscape structure and how those responses are influenced by forest harvest, we quantified the relationship between amounts of forest in the landscape at multiple spatial scales and the occurrence of 11 common boreal songbirds in western Newfoundland. The habitat type was assessed at a local scale (25 m diameter area) and amounts of forest habitat were measured at neighborhood (300 m) and landscape (2500 m) scales. We further compared how these relationships differed, depending on whether the landscape had been harvested or not, i.e., the landscape context. Landscape-scale metrics were related to occurrence for 7 of 11 species. For five of these seven, landscape context was also important. Landscape context was not important in models that did not contain a landscape-scale term. In four of five of the models including landscape context, there was an interaction of the term with either landscape or neighborhood effects, indicating that, not only was there an effect of forest harvest at the broad scale, but that effect altered the response of the species to other metrics. For the majority of species, overall occurrence tended to be higher in natural than in harvested landscapes, especially at higher levels of forest cover. Interestingly, for some species, occurrence was relatively similar across levels of forest cover within harvested, but not natural, landscapes. The results suggest some scale-invariance in species' responses to landscape structure, and that some species respond to landscape structure at scales that are broader than those implied by our current knowledge of territorial or dispersal distances. Collectively, the results also suggest that forest management needs to consider not only how local-scale processes might be influenced by local-scale changes in amounts of forest, but also how the broader scale context might interact with those local-scale changes to produce counter-intuitive results. The complex nature of some of the relationships we observed suggests that generalized management policy for forests and songbirds will be elusive.
Landscape control of uranium and thorium in boreal streams – spatiotemporal variability and the role of wetlands
F. Lidman, C. M. M rth,H. Laudon
Biogeosciences (BG) & Discussions (BGD) , 2012,
Abstract: The concentrations of uranium and thorium in ten partly nested streams in the boreal forest region were monitored over a two-year period. The investigated catchments ranged from small headwaters (0.1 km2) up to a fourth-order stream (67 km2). Considerable spatiotemporal variations were observed, with little or no correlation between streams. The fluxes of both uranium and thorium varied substantially between the subcatchments, ranging from 1.7 to 30 g km 2 a 1 for uranium and from 3.2 to 24 g km 2 a 1 for thorium. Airborne gamma spectrometry was used to measure the concentrations of uranium and thorium in surface soils throughout the catchment, suggesting that the concentrations of uranium and thorium in mineral soils are similar throughout the catchment. The fluxes of uranium and thorium were compared to a wide range of parameters characterising the investigated catchments and the chemistry of the stream water, e.g. soil concentrations of these elements, pH, TOC (total organic carbon), Al, Si and hydrogen carbonate, but it was concluded that the spatial variabilities in the fluxes of both uranium and thorium mainly were controlled by wetlands. The results indicate that there is a predictable and systematic accumulation of both uranium and thorium in boreal wetlands that is large enough to control the transport of these elements. On the landscape scale approximately 65–80% of uranium and 55–65% of thorium entering a wetland were estimated to be retained in the peat. Overall, accumulation in mires and other types of wetlands was estimated to decrease the fluxes of uranium and thorium from the boreal forest landscape by 30–40%, indicating that wetlands play an important role for the biogeochemical cycling of uranium and thorium in the boreal forest landscape. The atmospheric deposition of uranium and thorium was also quantified, and its contribution to boreal streams was found to be low compared to weathering.
Landscape control of uranium and thorium in boreal streams – spatiotemporal variability and the role of wetlands  [PDF]
F. Lidman,C. M. M?rth,H. Laudon
Biogeosciences (BG) & Discussions (BGD) , 2012, DOI: 10.5194/bg-9-4773-2012
Abstract: The concentrations of uranium and thorium in ten partly nested streams in the boreal forest region were monitored over a two-year period. The investigated catchments ranged from small headwaters (0.1 km2) up to a fourth-order stream (67 km2). Considerable spatiotemporal variations were observed, with little or no correlation between streams. The fluxes of both uranium and thorium varied substantially between the subcatchments, ranging from 1.7 to 30 g km 2 a 1 for uranium and from 3.2 to 24 g km 2 a 1 for thorium. Airborne gamma spectrometry was used to measure the concentrations of uranium and thorium in surface soils throughout the catchment, suggesting that the concentrations of uranium and thorium in mineral soils are similar throughout the catchment. The fluxes of uranium and thorium were compared to a wide range of parameters characterising the investigated catchments and the chemistry of the stream water, e.g. soil concentrations of these elements, pH, TOC (total organic carbon), Al, Si and hydrogen carbonate, but it was concluded that the spatial variabilities in the fluxes of both uranium and thorium mainly were controlled by wetlands. The results indicate that there is a predictable and systematic accumulation of both uranium and thorium in boreal wetlands that is large enough to control the transport of these elements. On the landscape scale approximately 65–80% of uranium and 55–65% of thorium entering a wetland were estimated to be retained in the peat. Overall, accumulation in mires and other types of wetlands was estimated to decrease the fluxes of uranium and thorium from the boreal forest landscape by 30–40%, indicating that wetlands play an important role for the biogeochemical cycling of uranium and thorium in the boreal forest landscape. The atmospheric deposition of uranium and thorium was also quantified, and its contribution to boreal streams was found to be low compared to weathering.
Landscape control of uranium and thorium in boreal streams – spatiotemporal variability and the role of wetlands
F. Lidman,C. M. M?rth,H. Laudon
Biogeosciences Discussions , 2012, DOI: 10.5194/bgd-9-2823-2012
Abstract: The concentrations of uranium and thorium in ten partly nested streams in the boreal forest region were monitored over a two-year period. Considerable spatiotemporal variations were observed, with little or no correlation between streams. The export of both uranium and thorium varied substantially between the subcatchments, ranging from 1.7 to 30 g km 2 a 1 for uranium and from 3.2 to 24 g km 2 a 1 for thorium. Airborne gamma spectrometry was used to measure the concentrations of uranium and thorium in surface soils throughout the catchment, but could not explain the variability in the export. Instead, the extent of lakes and mires within each subcatchment was found to be a stronger predictor for the transport of uranium and thorium. The results indicate that there is a predictable and systematic accumulation of both uranium and thorium in boreal mires. Approximately 65–80 % of uranium and 55–65 % of thorium entering a mire is estimated to be retained in the peat. Overall, accumulation in mires and other types of wetlands is estimated to decrease the fluxes of uranium and thorium from the boreal forest landscape by 30–40 %. The atmospheric deposition of uranium and thorium was also quantified and its contribution to boreal streams was found to be low compared to weathering.
Nitrogen oxides and PAN in plumes from boreal fires during ARCTAS-B and their impact on ozone: an integrated analysis of aircraft and satellite observations
M. J. Alvarado, J. A. Logan, J. Mao, E. Apel, D. Riemer, D. Blake, R. C. Cohen, K.-E. Min, A. E. Perring, E. C. Browne, P. J. Wooldridge, G. S. Diskin, G. W. Sachse, H. Fuelberg, W. R. Sessions, D. L. Harrigan, G. Huey, J. Liao, A. Case-Hanks, J. L. Jimenez, M. J. Cubison, S. A. Vay, A. J. Weinheimer, D. J. Knapp, D. D. Montzka, F. M. Flocke, I. B. Pollack, P. O. Wennberg, A. Kurten, J. Crounse, J. M. St. Clair, A. Wisthaler, T. Mikoviny, R. M. Yantosca, C. C. Carouge,P. Le Sager
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) & Discussions (ACPD) , 2010,
Abstract: We determine enhancement ratios for NOx, PAN, and other NOy species from boreal biomass burning using aircraft data obtained during the ARCTAS-B campaign and examine the impact of these emissions on tropospheric ozone in the Arctic. We find an initial emission factor for NOx of 1.06 g NO per kg dry matter (DM) burned, much lower than previous observations of boreal plumes, and also one third the value recommended for extratropical fires. Our analysis provides the first observational confirmation of rapid PAN formation in a boreal smoke plume, with 40% of the initial NOx emissions being converted to PAN in the first few hours after emission. We find little clear evidence for ozone formation in the boreal smoke plumes during ARCTAS-B in either aircraft or satellite observations, or in model simulations. Only a third of the smoke plumes observed by the NASA DC8 showed a correlation between ozone and CO, and ozone was depleted in the plumes as often as it was enhanced. Special observations from the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) also show little evidence for enhanced ozone in boreal smoke plumes between 15 June and 15 July 2008. Of the 22 plumes observed by TES, only 4 showed ozone increasing within the smoke plumes, and even in those cases it was unclear that the increase was caused by fire emissions. Using the GEOS-Chem atmospheric chemistry model, we show that boreal fires during ARCTAS-B had little impact on the median ozone profile measured over Canada, and had little impact on ozone within the smoke plumes observed by TES.
Boreal forest fires in 1997 and 1998: a seasonal comparison using transport model simulations and measurement data  [PDF]
N. Spichtinger,R. Damoah,S. Eckhardt,C. Forster
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions , 2004,
Abstract: Forest fire emissions have a strong impact on the concentrations of trace gases and aerosols in the atmosphere. In order to quantify the influence of boreal forest fire emissions on the atmospheric composition, the fire seasons of 1997 and 1998 are compared in this paper. Fire activity in 1998 was very strong, especially over Canada and Eastern Siberia, whereas it was much weaker in 1997. According to burned area estimates the burning in 1998 was more than six times as intense as in 1997. Based on hot spot locations derived from ATSR (Along Track Scanning Radiometer) data and official burned area data, fire emissions were estimated and their transport was simulated with a Lagrangian tracer transport model. Siberian and Canadian forest fire tracers were distinguished to investigate the transport of both separately. The fire emissions were transported even over intercontinental distances. Due to the El Ni o induced meteorological situation, transport from Siberia to Canada was enhanced in 1998. Siberian fire emissions were transported towards Canada and contributed concentrations more than twice as high as those due to Canada's own CO emissions by fires. In 1998 both tracers arrive at higher latitudes over Europe, which is due to a higher North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index in 1998. The simulated emission plumes are compared to CMDL (Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory) CO2 and CO data, Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) aerosol index (AI) data and Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) tropospheric NO2 columns. All the data show clearly enhanced signals during the burning season of 1998 compared to 1997. The results of the model simulation are in good agreement with ground-based as well as satellite-based measurements.
Frequent Fires in Ancient Shrub Tundra: Implications of Paleorecords for Arctic Environmental Change  [PDF]
Philip E. Higuera, Linda B. Brubaker, Patricia M. Anderson, Thomas A. Brown, Alison T. Kennedy, Feng Sheng Hu
PLOS ONE , 2008, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001744
Abstract: Understanding feedbacks between terrestrial and atmospheric systems is vital for predicting the consequences of global change, particularly in the rapidly changing Arctic. Fire is a key process in this context, but the consequences of altered fire regimes in tundra ecosystems are rarely considered, largely because tundra fires occur infrequently on the modern landscape. We present paleoecological data that indicate frequent tundra fires in northcentral Alaska between 14,000 and 10,000 years ago. Charcoal and pollen from lake sediments reveal that ancient birch-dominated shrub tundra burned as often as modern boreal forests in the region, every 144 years on average (+/? 90 s.d.; n = 44). Although paleoclimate interpretations and data from modern tundra fires suggest that increased burning was aided by low effective moisture, vegetation cover clearly played a critical role in facilitating the paleofires by creating an abundance of fine fuels. These records suggest that greater fire activity will likely accompany temperature-related increases in shrub-dominated tundra predicted for the 21st century and beyond. Increased tundra burning will have broad impacts on physical and biological systems as well as on land-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic, including the potential to release stored organic carbon to the atmosphere.
Quantifying the impact of BOReal forest fires on Tropospheric oxidants over the Atlantic using Aircraft and Satellites (BORTAS) experiment: design, execution and science overview  [PDF]
P. I. Palmer,M. Parrington,J. D. Lee,A. C. Lewis
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions , 2013, DOI: 10.5194/acpd-13-4127-2013
Abstract: We describe the design and execution of the BORTAS (Quantifying the impact of BOReal forest fires on Tropospheric oxidants using Aircraft and Satellites) experiment, which has the overarching objective of understanding the chemical aging of airmasses that contain the emission products from seasonal boreal wildfires and how these airmasses subsequently impact downwind atmospheric composition. The central focus of the experiment was a two-week deployment of the UK BAe-146-301 Atmospheric Research Aircraft (ARA) over eastern Canada. The planned July 2010 deployment of the ARA was postponed by 12 months because of activities related to the dispersal of material emitted by the Eyjafjallaj kull volcano. However, most other planned model and measurement activities, including ground-based measurements at the Dalhousie University Ground Station (DGS), enhanced ozonesonde launches, and measurements at the Pico Atmospheric Observatory in the Azores, went ahead and constituted phase A of the experiment. Phase B of BORTAS in July 2011 included the same measurements, but included the ARA, special satellite observations and a more comprehensive measurement suite at the DGS. The high-frequency aircraft data provided a comprehensive snapshot of the pyrogenic plumes from wildfires. The coordinated ground-based and sonde data provided detailed but spatially-limited information that put the aircraft data into context of the longer burning season. We coordinated aircraft vertical profiles and overpasses of the NASA Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer and the Canadian Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment. These space-borne data, while less precise than other data, helped to relate the two-week measurement campaign to larger geographical and longer temporal scales. We interpret these data using a range of chemistry models: from a near-explicit gas-phase chemical mechanism, which tests out understanding of the underlying chemical mechanism, to regional and global 3-D models of atmospheric transport and lumped chemistry, which helps to assess the performance of the simplified chemical mechanism and effectively act as intermediaries between different measurement types. We also present an overview of some of the new science that has originated from this project from the mission planning and execution to the analysis of the ground-based, aircraft, and space-borne data.
Photoelectric Heating and [CII] Cooling of High Galactic Latitude Translucent Clouds  [PDF]
James G. Ingalls,William T. Reach,T. M. Bania
Physics , 2002, DOI: 10.1086/342704
Abstract: The (2P3/2 -> 2P1/2) transition of singly--ionized carbon, [CII], is the primary coolant of diffuse interstellar gas. We describe observations of [CII] emission towards nine high Galactic latitude translucent molecular clouds, made with the long wavelength spectrometer on board the Infrared Space Observatory. To understand the role of dust grains in processing the interstellar radiation field (ISRF) and heating the gas, we compare the [CII] integrated intensity with the far-infrared (FIR) integrated surface brightness for the 101 sampled lines of sight. We find that [CII] is linearly correlated with FIR, and the average ratio is equal to that measured with the COBE satellite for all high-latitude Milky Way gas. There is a significant decrease that was not detected with COBE in [CII] emissivity at high values of FIR. Our sample splits naturally into two populations depending on the 60um/100um surface brightness ratio, or color: ``warm'' positions and ``cold'' positions. A transition from sources with warm to those with cold 60/100 colors coincides approximately with the transition from constant to decreasing [CII] emissivity. We model the [CII] and far-infrared emission under conditions of thermal equilibrium, using the simplifying assumptions that, in all regions heated by the ISRF, the most important source of gas heating is the photoelectric effect on grains and the most important source of gas cooling is [CII] emission. The model matches the data well. There are no statistically significant differences in the derived values of the ISRF intensity and the photoelectric heating efficiency for warm and cold sources. The observed variations in the [CII] emissivity and the 60/100 colors can be understood entirely in terms of the attenuation and softening of the ISRF by translucent clouds, not changes in dust properties.
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