A signal-to-noise index to quantify the potential for peak detection in sediment-charcoal records

Ryan F. Kelly, Philip E. Higuera, Carolyn M. Barrett, Feng Sheng Hu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Charcoal peaks in lake-sediment records are commonly used to reconstruct fire histories spanning thousands of years, but quantitative methods for evaluating the suitability of records for peak detection are largely lacking. We present a signal-to-noise index (SNI) that quantifies the separation of charcoal peaks (signal) from other variability in a record (noise). We validate the SNI with simulated and empirical charcoal records and show that an SNI > 3 consistently identifies records appropriate for peak detection. The SNI thus offers a means to evaluate the suitability of sediment-charcoal records for reconstructing local fires. MATLAB and R functions for calculating SNI are provided.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11-17
    Number of pages7
    JournalQuaternary Research (United States)
    Volume75
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 2011

    Keywords

    • Charcoal analysis
    • Fire history
    • Lake sediment
    • Paleoecology
    • Signal-to-noise index (SNI)

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