Changes in fire regimes since the last glacial maximum: An assessment based on a global synthesis and analysis of charcoal data

Mitch J. Power, J. Marlon, N. Ortiz, P. J. Bartlein, S. P. Harrison, F. E. Mayle, A. Ballouche, R. H W Bradshaw, C. Carcaillet, C. Cordova, S. Mooney, P. I. Moreno, I. C. Prentice, K. Thonicke, W. Tinner, C. Whitlock, Y. Zhang, Y. Zhao, A. A. Ali, Scott R AndersonR. Beer, H. Behling, C. Briles, K. J. Brown, A. Brunelle, M. Bush, P. Camill, G. Q. Chu, J. Clark, D. Colombaroli, S. Connor, A. L. Daniau, M. Daniels, J. Dodson, E. Doughty, M. E. Edwards, W. Finsinger, D. Foster, J. Frechette, M. J. Gaillard, D. G. Gavin, E. Gobet, S. Haberle, D. J. Hallett, P. Higuera, G. Hope, S. Horn, J. Inoue, P. Kaltenrieder, L. Kennedy, Z. C. Kong, C. Larsen, C. J. Long, J. Lynch, E. A. Lynch, M. McGlone, S. Meeks, S. Mensing, G. Meyer, T. Minckley, J. Mohr, D. M. Nelson, J. New, R. Newnham, R. Noti, W. Oswald, J. Pierce, P. J H Richard, C. Rowe, M. F. Sanchez Goñi, B. N. Shuman, H. Takahara, J. Toney, C. Turney, D. H. Urrego-Sanchez, C. Umbanhowar, M. Vandergoes, B. Vanniere, E. Vescovi, M. Walsh, X. Wang, N. Williams, J. Wilmshurst, J. H. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

392 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fire activity has varied globally and continuously since the last glacial maximum (LGM) in response to long-term changes in global climate and shorter-term regional changes in climate, vegetation, and human land use. We have synthesized sedimentary charcoal records of biomass burning since the LGM and present global maps showing changes in fire activity for time slices during the past 21,000 years (as differences in charcoal accumulation values compared to pre-industrial). There is strong broad-scale coherence in fire activity after the LGM, but spatial heterogeneity in the signals increases thereafter. In North America, Europe and southern South America, charcoal records indicate less-than-present fire activity during the deglacial period, from 21,000 to ∼11,000 cal yr BP. In contrast, the tropical latitudes of South America and Africa show greater-than-present fire activity from ∼19,000 to ∼17,000 cal yr BP and most sites from Indochina and Australia show greater-than-present fire activity from 16,000 to ∼13,000 cal yr BP. Many sites indicate greater-than-present or near-present activity during the Holocene with the exception of eastern North America and eastern Asia from 8,000 to ∼3,000 cal yr BP, Indonesia and Australia from 11,000 to 4,000 cal yr BP, and southern South America from 6,000 to 3,000 cal yr BP where fire activity was less than present. Regional coherence in the patterns of change in fire activity was evident throughout the post-glacial period. These complex patterns can largely be explained in terms of large-scale climate controls modulated by local changes in vegetation and fuel load.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-907
Number of pages21
JournalClimate Dynamics
Volume30
Issue number7-8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Last Glacial Maximum
charcoal
analysis
vegetation
climate
biomass burning
long-term change
Postglacial
global climate
Holocene
land use
South America

Keywords

  • Biomass burning
  • Charcoal
  • Data-model comparisons
  • Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction
  • Palaeofire regimes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

Power, M. J., Marlon, J., Ortiz, N., Bartlein, P. J., Harrison, S. P., Mayle, F. E., ... Zhang, J. H. (2008). Changes in fire regimes since the last glacial maximum: An assessment based on a global synthesis and analysis of charcoal data. Climate Dynamics, 30(7-8), 887-907. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-007-0334-x

Changes in fire regimes since the last glacial maximum : An assessment based on a global synthesis and analysis of charcoal data. / Power, Mitch J.; Marlon, J.; Ortiz, N.; Bartlein, P. J.; Harrison, S. P.; Mayle, F. E.; Ballouche, A.; Bradshaw, R. H W; Carcaillet, C.; Cordova, C.; Mooney, S.; Moreno, P. I.; Prentice, I. C.; Thonicke, K.; Tinner, W.; Whitlock, C.; Zhang, Y.; Zhao, Y.; Ali, A. A.; Anderson, Scott R; Beer, R.; Behling, H.; Briles, C.; Brown, K. J.; Brunelle, A.; Bush, M.; Camill, P.; Chu, G. Q.; Clark, J.; Colombaroli, D.; Connor, S.; Daniau, A. L.; Daniels, M.; Dodson, J.; Doughty, E.; Edwards, M. E.; Finsinger, W.; Foster, D.; Frechette, J.; Gaillard, M. J.; Gavin, D. G.; Gobet, E.; Haberle, S.; Hallett, D. J.; Higuera, P.; Hope, G.; Horn, S.; Inoue, J.; Kaltenrieder, P.; Kennedy, L.; Kong, Z. C.; Larsen, C.; Long, C. J.; Lynch, J.; Lynch, E. A.; McGlone, M.; Meeks, S.; Mensing, S.; Meyer, G.; Minckley, T.; Mohr, J.; Nelson, D. M.; New, J.; Newnham, R.; Noti, R.; Oswald, W.; Pierce, J.; Richard, P. J H; Rowe, C.; Sanchez Goñi, M. F.; Shuman, B. N.; Takahara, H.; Toney, J.; Turney, C.; Urrego-Sanchez, D. H.; Umbanhowar, C.; Vandergoes, M.; Vanniere, B.; Vescovi, E.; Walsh, M.; Wang, X.; Williams, N.; Wilmshurst, J.; Zhang, J. H.

In: Climate Dynamics, Vol. 30, No. 7-8, 06.2008, p. 887-907.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Power, MJ, Marlon, J, Ortiz, N, Bartlein, PJ, Harrison, SP, Mayle, FE, Ballouche, A, Bradshaw, RHW, Carcaillet, C, Cordova, C, Mooney, S, Moreno, PI, Prentice, IC, Thonicke, K, Tinner, W, Whitlock, C, Zhang, Y, Zhao, Y, Ali, AA, Anderson, SR, Beer, R, Behling, H, Briles, C, Brown, KJ, Brunelle, A, Bush, M, Camill, P, Chu, GQ, Clark, J, Colombaroli, D, Connor, S, Daniau, AL, Daniels, M, Dodson, J, Doughty, E, Edwards, ME, Finsinger, W, Foster, D, Frechette, J, Gaillard, MJ, Gavin, DG, Gobet, E, Haberle, S, Hallett, DJ, Higuera, P, Hope, G, Horn, S, Inoue, J, Kaltenrieder, P, Kennedy, L, Kong, ZC, Larsen, C, Long, CJ, Lynch, J, Lynch, EA, McGlone, M, Meeks, S, Mensing, S, Meyer, G, Minckley, T, Mohr, J, Nelson, DM, New, J, Newnham, R, Noti, R, Oswald, W, Pierce, J, Richard, PJH, Rowe, C, Sanchez Goñi, MF, Shuman, BN, Takahara, H, Toney, J, Turney, C, Urrego-Sanchez, DH, Umbanhowar, C, Vandergoes, M, Vanniere, B, Vescovi, E, Walsh, M, Wang, X, Williams, N, Wilmshurst, J & Zhang, JH 2008, 'Changes in fire regimes since the last glacial maximum: An assessment based on a global synthesis and analysis of charcoal data', Climate Dynamics, vol. 30, no. 7-8, pp. 887-907. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-007-0334-x
Power, Mitch J. ; Marlon, J. ; Ortiz, N. ; Bartlein, P. J. ; Harrison, S. P. ; Mayle, F. E. ; Ballouche, A. ; Bradshaw, R. H W ; Carcaillet, C. ; Cordova, C. ; Mooney, S. ; Moreno, P. I. ; Prentice, I. C. ; Thonicke, K. ; Tinner, W. ; Whitlock, C. ; Zhang, Y. ; Zhao, Y. ; Ali, A. A. ; Anderson, Scott R ; Beer, R. ; Behling, H. ; Briles, C. ; Brown, K. J. ; Brunelle, A. ; Bush, M. ; Camill, P. ; Chu, G. Q. ; Clark, J. ; Colombaroli, D. ; Connor, S. ; Daniau, A. L. ; Daniels, M. ; Dodson, J. ; Doughty, E. ; Edwards, M. E. ; Finsinger, W. ; Foster, D. ; Frechette, J. ; Gaillard, M. J. ; Gavin, D. G. ; Gobet, E. ; Haberle, S. ; Hallett, D. J. ; Higuera, P. ; Hope, G. ; Horn, S. ; Inoue, J. ; Kaltenrieder, P. ; Kennedy, L. ; Kong, Z. C. ; Larsen, C. ; Long, C. J. ; Lynch, J. ; Lynch, E. A. ; McGlone, M. ; Meeks, S. ; Mensing, S. ; Meyer, G. ; Minckley, T. ; Mohr, J. ; Nelson, D. M. ; New, J. ; Newnham, R. ; Noti, R. ; Oswald, W. ; Pierce, J. ; Richard, P. J H ; Rowe, C. ; Sanchez Goñi, M. F. ; Shuman, B. N. ; Takahara, H. ; Toney, J. ; Turney, C. ; Urrego-Sanchez, D. H. ; Umbanhowar, C. ; Vandergoes, M. ; Vanniere, B. ; Vescovi, E. ; Walsh, M. ; Wang, X. ; Williams, N. ; Wilmshurst, J. ; Zhang, J. H. / Changes in fire regimes since the last glacial maximum : An assessment based on a global synthesis and analysis of charcoal data. In: Climate Dynamics. 2008 ; Vol. 30, No. 7-8. pp. 887-907.
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title = "Changes in fire regimes since the last glacial maximum: An assessment based on a global synthesis and analysis of charcoal data",
abstract = "Fire activity has varied globally and continuously since the last glacial maximum (LGM) in response to long-term changes in global climate and shorter-term regional changes in climate, vegetation, and human land use. We have synthesized sedimentary charcoal records of biomass burning since the LGM and present global maps showing changes in fire activity for time slices during the past 21,000 years (as differences in charcoal accumulation values compared to pre-industrial). There is strong broad-scale coherence in fire activity after the LGM, but spatial heterogeneity in the signals increases thereafter. In North America, Europe and southern South America, charcoal records indicate less-than-present fire activity during the deglacial period, from 21,000 to ∼11,000 cal yr BP. In contrast, the tropical latitudes of South America and Africa show greater-than-present fire activity from ∼19,000 to ∼17,000 cal yr BP and most sites from Indochina and Australia show greater-than-present fire activity from 16,000 to ∼13,000 cal yr BP. Many sites indicate greater-than-present or near-present activity during the Holocene with the exception of eastern North America and eastern Asia from 8,000 to ∼3,000 cal yr BP, Indonesia and Australia from 11,000 to 4,000 cal yr BP, and southern South America from 6,000 to 3,000 cal yr BP where fire activity was less than present. Regional coherence in the patterns of change in fire activity was evident throughout the post-glacial period. These complex patterns can largely be explained in terms of large-scale climate controls modulated by local changes in vegetation and fuel load.",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Changes in fire regimes since the last glacial maximum

T2 - An assessment based on a global synthesis and analysis of charcoal data

AU - Power, Mitch J.

AU - Marlon, J.

AU - Ortiz, N.

AU - Bartlein, P. J.

AU - Harrison, S. P.

AU - Mayle, F. E.

AU - Ballouche, A.

AU - Bradshaw, R. H W

AU - Carcaillet, C.

AU - Cordova, C.

AU - Mooney, S.

AU - Moreno, P. I.

AU - Prentice, I. C.

AU - Thonicke, K.

AU - Tinner, W.

AU - Whitlock, C.

AU - Zhang, Y.

AU - Zhao, Y.

AU - Ali, A. A.

AU - Anderson, Scott R

AU - Beer, R.

AU - Behling, H.

AU - Briles, C.

AU - Brown, K. J.

AU - Brunelle, A.

AU - Bush, M.

AU - Camill, P.

AU - Chu, G. Q.

AU - Clark, J.

AU - Colombaroli, D.

AU - Connor, S.

AU - Daniau, A. L.

AU - Daniels, M.

AU - Dodson, J.

AU - Doughty, E.

AU - Edwards, M. E.

AU - Finsinger, W.

AU - Foster, D.

AU - Frechette, J.

AU - Gaillard, M. J.

AU - Gavin, D. G.

AU - Gobet, E.

AU - Haberle, S.

AU - Hallett, D. J.

AU - Higuera, P.

AU - Hope, G.

AU - Horn, S.

AU - Inoue, J.

AU - Kaltenrieder, P.

AU - Kennedy, L.

AU - Kong, Z. C.

AU - Larsen, C.

AU - Long, C. J.

AU - Lynch, J.

AU - Lynch, E. A.

AU - McGlone, M.

AU - Meeks, S.

AU - Mensing, S.

AU - Meyer, G.

AU - Minckley, T.

AU - Mohr, J.

AU - Nelson, D. M.

AU - New, J.

AU - Newnham, R.

AU - Noti, R.

AU - Oswald, W.

AU - Pierce, J.

AU - Richard, P. J H

AU - Rowe, C.

AU - Sanchez Goñi, M. F.

AU - Shuman, B. N.

AU - Takahara, H.

AU - Toney, J.

AU - Turney, C.

AU - Urrego-Sanchez, D. H.

AU - Umbanhowar, C.

AU - Vandergoes, M.

AU - Vanniere, B.

AU - Vescovi, E.

AU - Walsh, M.

AU - Wang, X.

AU - Williams, N.

AU - Wilmshurst, J.

AU - Zhang, J. H.

PY - 2008/6

Y1 - 2008/6

N2 - Fire activity has varied globally and continuously since the last glacial maximum (LGM) in response to long-term changes in global climate and shorter-term regional changes in climate, vegetation, and human land use. We have synthesized sedimentary charcoal records of biomass burning since the LGM and present global maps showing changes in fire activity for time slices during the past 21,000 years (as differences in charcoal accumulation values compared to pre-industrial). There is strong broad-scale coherence in fire activity after the LGM, but spatial heterogeneity in the signals increases thereafter. In North America, Europe and southern South America, charcoal records indicate less-than-present fire activity during the deglacial period, from 21,000 to ∼11,000 cal yr BP. In contrast, the tropical latitudes of South America and Africa show greater-than-present fire activity from ∼19,000 to ∼17,000 cal yr BP and most sites from Indochina and Australia show greater-than-present fire activity from 16,000 to ∼13,000 cal yr BP. Many sites indicate greater-than-present or near-present activity during the Holocene with the exception of eastern North America and eastern Asia from 8,000 to ∼3,000 cal yr BP, Indonesia and Australia from 11,000 to 4,000 cal yr BP, and southern South America from 6,000 to 3,000 cal yr BP where fire activity was less than present. Regional coherence in the patterns of change in fire activity was evident throughout the post-glacial period. These complex patterns can largely be explained in terms of large-scale climate controls modulated by local changes in vegetation and fuel load.

AB - Fire activity has varied globally and continuously since the last glacial maximum (LGM) in response to long-term changes in global climate and shorter-term regional changes in climate, vegetation, and human land use. We have synthesized sedimentary charcoal records of biomass burning since the LGM and present global maps showing changes in fire activity for time slices during the past 21,000 years (as differences in charcoal accumulation values compared to pre-industrial). There is strong broad-scale coherence in fire activity after the LGM, but spatial heterogeneity in the signals increases thereafter. In North America, Europe and southern South America, charcoal records indicate less-than-present fire activity during the deglacial period, from 21,000 to ∼11,000 cal yr BP. In contrast, the tropical latitudes of South America and Africa show greater-than-present fire activity from ∼19,000 to ∼17,000 cal yr BP and most sites from Indochina and Australia show greater-than-present fire activity from 16,000 to ∼13,000 cal yr BP. Many sites indicate greater-than-present or near-present activity during the Holocene with the exception of eastern North America and eastern Asia from 8,000 to ∼3,000 cal yr BP, Indonesia and Australia from 11,000 to 4,000 cal yr BP, and southern South America from 6,000 to 3,000 cal yr BP where fire activity was less than present. Regional coherence in the patterns of change in fire activity was evident throughout the post-glacial period. These complex patterns can largely be explained in terms of large-scale climate controls modulated by local changes in vegetation and fuel load.

KW - Biomass burning

KW - Charcoal

KW - Data-model comparisons

KW - Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction

KW - Palaeofire regimes

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