EGU21-6008, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Reconstruction of fire regime changes in the French Mediterranean region during the last 8,500 years using microcharcoal 

Marion Genet1, Anne-Laure Daniau1, Maria-Angela Bassetti2, Bassem Jallali3,4, Marie-Alexandrine Sicre3, Julien Azuara5, Serge Berné2, and Muriel Georget1
Marion Genet et al.
  • 1University of Bordeaux, EPOC, Paléoclimat, PESSAC, France (
  • 2CEFREM UMR5110 CNRS, Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, Perpignan, France
  • 3LOCEAN Laboratory, Sorbonne Universités (UPMC, Univ Paris 06)-CNRS-IRD-MNHN, Paris, France
  • 4Key Laboratory of Marine Ecosystem Dynamics, SOA & SIO, MNR, Hangzhou 310012, P. R. China
  • 5MNHN, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UMR CNRS 7194, 75013 Paris, France

Nowadays, the Mediterranean region is strongly impacted by fires. Projected warming scenarios suggest increasing fire risk in this region considered as hot-spot of the climate change (Liu et al., 2010; Pechony and Shindell, 2010). However, models based on modern-day statistical relationships do not properly account for interactions between climate, vegetation, and fire. In addition, process-based models must be tested not only against modern observations but also under different past climate conditions reflecting the range of climate variability projected for the next centuries (Hantson et al. 2016). Marine sediments are a major source of fire history of nearby land masses. Here, we present a unique 8,500 yr long record of biomass burning changes from southeastern France based on a marine microcharcoal sedimentary record from the Gulf of Lion, located in the subaqueous Rhone river delta. Sediment delivery to the Gulf of Lion comes mainly from the Rhône River draining a large watershed in southeast France (ca.100,000 km2). Due to the direction of dominant winds blowing from the North-North-West (Mistral and Tramontane) and carrying fine particles from the land to the sea, the microcharcoal record likely reflects the biomass burning in the Rhone watershed and South-East of France. Our results show multi-centennial to millennial changes in biomass burning with a periodicity  of 1000 years for the full record and between 500 and 700 years before 5,000 cal BP and after 3,000 cal BP. Large peaks of biomass burning are associated with marked dry periods observed in the region. Burning of biomass is higher when the region is dominated by xerophytic vegetation than when mesophyte vegetation dominates. The trend and periodicity of the biomass burning record suggest a predominant climatic control of fire occurrences since 8,500 cal BP in this region.

How to cite: Genet, M., Daniau, A.-L., Bassetti, M.-A., Jallali, B., Sicre, M.-A., Azuara, J., Berné, S., and Georget, M.: Reconstruction of fire regime changes in the French Mediterranean region during the last 8,500 years using microcharcoal , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6008,, 2021.

Corresponding presentation materials formerly uploaded have been withdrawn.