Top-down Constraints on Combustion Characteristics During the 2010 South America Drought Fires.

Friday, 19 December 2014: 9:15 AM
A. Anthony Bloom1, John Worden2, Zhe Jiang3, Christian Frankenberg4, Thomas p Kurosu3, Felix W Landerer3 and David Schimel3, (1)Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)JPL / Caltech, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (4)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
South America fires are an important component of the tropical carbon budget. In this research we compare the 2007 and 2010 fire seasons: satellite observations reveal a similar burned area extent for 2007 and 2010 fires but very different levels of CO emissions, thus these differences reveal some of the processes controlling tropical fires. For example, the 2010 drought year may have resulted in an increase in combustion efficiency and/or combustion completeness due to more readily combustible fuel. Alternatively the 2010 drought may have resulted in combustion completeness decrease due to a reduction in readily combustible fuel production. These two hypotheses have conflicting implications on the net carbon losses from drought fires. To determine the likelihood of the above-stated hypotheses, we use the satellite-based CO and CH4 constraints to optimize a simple biomass-burning model. Relative to 2007, we show that a lower combustion completeness for forest and savanna fires, combined with an increase in combustion efficiency and completeness in agricultural areas, best explain the TES and MOPITT constraints. While we have gained an insight on the effects of the 2010 drought on biomass combustion characteristics, additional constraints are needed to improve estimates of total carbon losses from both years.