Increases in Land Surface Temperature in Response to Fire in Siberian Boreal Forests and Their Attribution to Biophysical Processes

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Abstract

Wildfire is the most prevalent natural disturbance in boreal forests and impacts climate through biogeochemical (e.g., greenhouse gas emission from biomass burning) and biophysical (e.g., albedo [α], evapotranspiration [ET], and roughness) processes. We used satellite observations to investigate the immediate (i.e., 1 year after fire) biophysical effects of fire in Siberian boreal forests. We found that boreal forest fires have a net annual warming effect (0.0728 to 0.325 K) due to strong summer warming and weak winter cooling. Fires also increased the diurnal temperature range and seasonal amplitude. These effects are strongest in summer and significantly higher in evergreen than in deciduous coniferous forests. Decreases in ET contributed to warming effects in summer, and increases in α contributed to cooling in winter. Our results suggest that the increase in observed land surface temperature immediately following fires in boreal ecosystems is most likely due to reduced ET leading to a strong positive feedback on the surface radiative budget.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6485-6494
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume45
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 16 2018

Keywords

  • boreal fire
  • climate
  • disturbance
  • forest
  • land surface temperature
  • remote sensing

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