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BG4.2 Media

Interactions between fire, the Earth system and humans across time and space
Convener: Gitta Lasslop  | Co-Conveners: Alysha Inez Coppola , Angelica Feurdean , Stijn Hantson , Cristina Santin , Sander Veraverbeke 
 / Thu, 12 Apr, 08:30–12:00
 / Attendance Thu, 12 Apr, 17:30–19:00

Fire is a global phenomenon influencing ecosystem patterns, carbon stocks and fluxes, and atmospheric composition, with a large impact on human health, safety and economy. Our understanding on drivers of fire occurrence has considerably improved over the last decades and has highlighted climate, vegetation and humans as key drivers. Considerable uncertainty remains on the relative importance of these drivers and how they vary across spatial and temporal scales. A multiscale assessment of fire behaviour is imperative: climate-fire feedbacks, for example, operate at continental to global scales, whereas vegetation and human interactions with fire may require local/scale approaches. The response of ecosystems to meteorological conditions usually takes place on the short time scale, while adaptation of plant traits to the environment is slow.

There are many pathways in which fire affects the Earth system, one of the most important being its impact on the carbon cycle. Pyrogenic carbon (also known as black carbon, charcoal, soot) is increasingly seen as an important player in the global carbon cycle, although many uncertainties still exist concerning reservoir sizes, and losses and fluxes between land, rivers, the ocean and the atmosphere.

The aim of this session is to improve the understanding of interactions between fire, the Earth system and humans. We invite contributions developing or using remote sensing datasets, in situ observations, charcoal records, laboratory experiments and modelling approaches. We welcome studies that help to improve our understanding of (1) the relative importance of climate, vegetation composition and humans on fire occurrence (frequency and area burned) across spatial and temporal scales (2) the impacts of fire on properties of vegetation (composition, structure and traits), atmosphere and society, (3) feedbacks between fire, vegetation and climate, (4) the role of fire in the carbon cycle, with special focus on the transfer of pyrogenic carbon from terrestrial ecosystems to aquatic environments, as well as its biogeochemical fate in these environments.

Invited speakers:
- Douglas Morton, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
- Samuel Abiven, Univ. of Zurich