EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Extensive fires in southeastern Siberian permafrost linked to preceding Arctic Oscillation

Jin-Soo Kim1,5, Jong-Seong Kug2, Su-Jong Jeong3, Hotaek Park4, and Gabriela Schaepman-Strub5
Jin-Soo Kim et al.
  • 1University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences, Edinburgh, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (
  • 2Division of Environmental Science and Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), South Korea
  • 3Department of Environmental Planning, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Seoul National University, South Korea
  • 4Institute of Arctic Climate and Environmental Research, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Japan
  • 5Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Terrestrial Arctic is a critical region for positive carbon-climate feedback because of the release of considerable organic carbon from the permafrost buried in the soil. Fires rapidly transfer carbon to the atmosphere. Thus, carbon release through boreal fires could considerably accelerate Arctic warming; however, boreal fire occurrence mechanisms and dynamics remain largely unknown. Here, we analyze fire activity and relevant large-scale atmospheric conditions over southeastern Siberia, which has the largest burned area fraction in the circumboreal and high-level carbon emissions due to high-density peatlands. It is found that the annual burned area increased when a positive Arctic Oscillation (AO) takes place in early months of the year, despite peak fire season occurring 1 to 2 months later. A local high-pressure system linked to the AO drives a high-temperature anomaly in late winter, causing premature snowmelt. This causes earlier ground surface exposure and drier ground in spring due to enhanced evaporation, promoting fire spreading. Recently, southeastern Siberia has experienced warming and snow retreat; therefore, southeastern Siberia requires appropriate fire management strategies to prevent massive carbon release and accelerated global warming.

How to cite: Kim, J.-S., Kug, J.-S., Jeong, S.-J., Park, H., and Schaepman-Strub, G.: Extensive fires in southeastern Siberian permafrost linked to preceding Arctic Oscillation, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-6502,, 2020

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