Skip to Main Content
The theory, direction, and magnitude of ecosystem fire probability as constrained by precipitation and temperatureAuthor(s): Richard Guyette; Michael C. Stambaugh; Daniel Dey; Rose Marie Muzika; Ben Bond-Lamberty
Source: PLOS ONE
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
View PDF (3.0 MB)
DescriptionThe effects of climate on wildland fire confronts society across a range of different ecosystems. Water and temperature affect the combustion dynamics, irrespective of whether those are associated with carbon fueled motors or ecosystems, but through different chemical, physical, and biological processes. We use an ecosystem combustion equation developed with the physical chemistry of atmospheric variables to estimate and simulate fire probability and mean fire interval (MFI). The calibration of ecosystem fire probability with basic combustion chemistry and physics offers a quantitative method to address wildland fire in addition to the well-studied forcing factors such as topography, ignition, and vegetation. We develop a graphic analysis tool for estimating climate forced fire probability with temperature and precipitation based on an empirical assessment of combustion theory and fire prediction in ecosystems. Climate-affected fire probability for any period, past or future, is estimated with given temperature and precipitation. A graphic analyses of wildland fire dynamics driven by climate supports a dialectic in hydrologic processes that affect ecosystem combustion: 1) the water needed by plants to produce carbon bonds (fuel) and 2) the inhibition of successful reactant collisions by water molecules (humidity and fuel moisture). These two postulates enable a classification scheme for ecosystems into three or more climate categories using their position relative to change points defined by precipitation in combustion dynamics equations. Three classifications of combustion dynamics in ecosystems fire probability include: 1) precipitation insensitive, 2) precipitation unstable, and 3) precipitation sensitive. All three classifications interact in different ways with variable levels of temperature.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationGuyette, Richard; Stambaugh, Michael C.; Dey, Daniel; Muzika, Rose Marie; Bond-Lamberty, Ben. 2017. The theory, direction, and magnitude of ecosystem fire probability as constrained by precipitation and temperature. PLOS ONE. 12(7): e0180956-. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180956.
- Future fire probability modeling with climate change data and physical chemistry
- Predicting fire frequency with chemistry and climate
- Wildland fire emissions, carbon, and climate: Science overview and knowledge needs
XML: View XML