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Projected changes in atmospheric heating due to changes in fire disturbance and the snow season in the western Arctic, 2003–2100

Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences

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, ORCID iD , , , and
https://doi.org/10.1029/2009JG001095

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Abstract

In high latitudes, changes in climate impact fire regimes and snow cover duration, altering the surface albedo and the heating of the regional atmosphere. In the western Arctic, under four scenarios of future climate change and future fire regimes (2003–2100), we examined changes in surface albedo and the related changes in regional atmospheric heating due to: (1) vegetation changes following a changing fire regime, and (2) changes in snow cover duration. We used a spatially explicit dynamic vegetation model (Alaskan Frame-based Ecosystem Code) to simulate changes in successional dynamics associated with fire under the future climate scenarios, and the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model to simulate changes in snow cover. Changes in summer heating due to the changes in the forest stand age distributions under future fire regimes showed a slight cooling effect due to increases in summer albedo (mean across climates of −0.9 W m−2 decade−1). Over this same time period, decreases in snow cover (mean reduction in the snow season of 4.5 d decade−1) caused a reduction in albedo, and a heating effect (mean across climates of 4.3 W m−2 decade−1). Adding both the summer negative change in atmospheric heating due to changes in fire regimes to the positive changes in atmospheric heating due to changes in the length of the snow season resulted in a 3.4 W m−2 decade−1 increase in atmospheric heating. These findings highlight the importance of gaining a better understanding of the influences of changes in surface albedo on atmospheric heating due to both changes in the fire regime and changes in snow cover duration.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Projected changes in atmospheric heating due to changes in fire disturbance and the snow season in the western Arctic, 2003–2100
Series title:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
DOI:
10.1029/2009JG001095
Volume:
114
Issue:
G4
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Publisher:
John Wiley & Sons
Publisher location:
Hoboken, NJ
Contributing office(s):
Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description:
15 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Country:
Canada, United States
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N