Southern Annular Mode Drives Multicentury Wildfire Activity in Southern South America. Holz, A., Paritsis, J., Mundo, I. A., Veblen, T. T., Kitzberger, T., Williamson, G. J., Aráoz, E., Bustos-Schindler, C., González, M. E., Grau, H. R., & Quezada, J. M. 114(36):9552–9557.
Southern Annular Mode Drives Multicentury Wildfire Activity in Southern South America [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
[Significance] Fire is a key ecological process affecting ecosystem dynamics and services, driven primarily by variations in fuel amount and condition, ignition patterns, and climate. In the Southern Hemisphere, current warming conditions are linked to the upward trend in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) due to ozone depletion. Here we use tree ring fire scar data obtained from diverse biomes ranging from subtropical dry woodlands to sub-Antarctic rainforests to assess the effect of the SAM on regional fire activity over the past several centuries. Our findings reveal a tight coupling between fire activity and the SAM at all temporal scales and in all biomes, with increased wildfire synchrony and activity during the 20th century compared with previous centuries. [Abstract] The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is the main driver of climate variability at mid to high latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, affecting wildfire activity, which in turn pollutes the air and contributes to human health problems and mortality, and potentially provides strong feedback to the climate system through emissions and land cover changes. Here we report the largest Southern Hemisphere network of annually resolved tree ring fire histories, consisting of 1,767 fire-scarred trees from 97 sites (from 22 °S to 54 °S) in southern South America (SAS), to quantify the coupling of SAM and regional wildfire variability using recently created multicentury proxy indices of SAM for the years 1531-2010 AD. We show that at interannual time scales, as well as at multidecadal time scales across 37-54 °S, latitudinal gradient elevated wildfire activity is synchronous with positive phases of the SAM over the years 1665-1995. Positive phases of the SAM are associated primarily with warm conditions in these biomass-rich forests, in which widespread fire activity depends on fuel desiccation. Climate modeling studies indicate that greenhouse gases will force SAM into its positive phase even if stratospheric ozone returns to normal levels, so that climate conditions conducive to widespread fire activity in SAS will continue throughout the 21st century.
@article{holzSouthernAnnularMode2017,
  title = {Southern {{Annular Mode}} Drives Multicentury Wildfire Activity in Southern {{South America}}},
  author = {Holz, Andrés and Paritsis, Juan and Mundo, Ignacio A. and Veblen, Thomas T. and Kitzberger, Thomas and Williamson, Grant J. and Aráoz, Ezequiel and Bustos-Schindler, Carlos and González, Mauro E. and Grau, H. Ricardo and Quezada, Juan M.},
  date = {2017-09},
  journaltitle = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  volume = {114},
  pages = {9552--9557},
  issn = {1091-6490},
  doi = {10.1073/pnas.1705168114},
  url = {http://mfkp.org/INRMM/article/14426176},
  abstract = {[Significance]

Fire is a key ecological process affecting ecosystem dynamics and services, driven primarily by variations in fuel amount and condition, ignition patterns, and climate. In the Southern Hemisphere, current warming conditions are linked to the upward trend in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) due to ozone depletion. Here we use tree ring fire scar data obtained from diverse biomes ranging from subtropical dry woodlands to sub-Antarctic rainforests to assess the effect of the SAM on regional fire activity over the past several centuries. Our findings reveal a tight coupling between fire activity and the SAM at all temporal scales and in all biomes, with increased wildfire synchrony and activity during the 20th century compared with previous centuries.

[Abstract] The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is the main driver of climate variability at mid to high latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, affecting wildfire activity, which in turn pollutes the air and contributes to human health problems and mortality, and potentially provides strong feedback to the climate system through emissions and land cover changes. Here we report the largest Southern Hemisphere network of annually resolved tree ring fire histories, consisting of 1,767 fire-scarred trees from 97 sites (from 22 °S to 54 °S) in southern South America (SAS), to quantify the coupling of SAM and regional wildfire variability using recently created multicentury proxy indices of SAM for the years 1531-2010 AD. We show that at interannual time scales, as well as at multidecadal time scales across 37-54 °S, latitudinal gradient elevated wildfire activity is synchronous with positive phases of the SAM over the years 1665-1995. Positive phases of the SAM are associated primarily with warm conditions in these biomass-rich forests, in which widespread fire activity depends on fuel desiccation. Climate modeling studies indicate that greenhouse gases will force SAM into its positive phase even if stratospheric ozone returns to normal levels, so that climate conditions conducive to widespread fire activity in SAS will continue throughout the 21st century.},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-14426176,~to-add-doi-URL,climate,forest-fires,forest-resources,short-term-vs-long-term,south-america,southern-annular-mode--antarctic-oscillation,wildfires},
  number = {36}
}
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