Fire in the Earth System

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Science  24 Apr 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5926, pp. 481-484
DOI: 10.1126/science.1163886

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  1. Fig. 1

    Qualitative schematic of global fire activity through time, based on pre-Quaternary distribution of charcoal, Quaternary and Holocene charcoal records, and modern satellite observations, in relation to the percentage of atmospheric O2 content, parts per million (ppm) of CO2, appearance of certain vegetation types, and the presence of the genus Homo. (See supporting online text for data sources used.) Dotted lines indicate periods of uncertainty.

  2. Fig. 2

    Current pyrogeography on Earth, illustrated by (A) net primary productivity (NPP, g C m−2 year−1) (40) from 2001 to 2006, by 1° grid cells; and (B) annual average number of fires observed by satellite (49).

  3. Fig. 3

    Estimated contribution of fire associated with deforestation to changes in radiative forcing compared to 1750 C.E. (7), assuming a steady state for other fire emissions. The shaded inner bar (blue indicates cooling; red, warming) is the estimated fire contribution to the total radiative forcing of individual agents identified by the IPCC (unshaded, outlined bar) (7). Several assumptions had to be made to estimate these contributions, and more interdisciplinary research is needed to reduce uncertainties, especially for ozone, albedo, and the complicated effect of aerosols.