A novel Fire-Model for the CABLE Land Surface Model applied to a Re-assessment of the Australian Continental Carbon Budget

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Lars Peter Nieradzik1, Vanessa Elizabeth Haverd1, Peter Briggs1, Carl P. Meyer2 and Josep Canadell1, (1)CSIRO, Oceans and Atmosphere, Canberra, Australia, (2)CSIRO, Oceans and Atmosphere, Aspendale, Melbourne, Australia
Fires play a major role in the carbon-cycle and the development of global vegetation, especially on the continent of Australia, where vegetation is prone to frequent fire occurences and where regional composition and stand-age distribution is regulated by fire. Furthermore, the probable changes of fire behaviour under a changing climate are still poorly understood and require further investigation.

In this presentation we introduce a novel approach to simulate fire-frequencies, fire-intensities and the responses in vegetation. Fire frequencies are prescribed using SIMFIRE (Knorr et al., 2014) or GFED3 (e.g. Giglio et al., 2013). Fire-Line-Intensity (FLI) is computed from meteorological information and fuel loads which are state variables within the C-cycle component of CABLE. This FLI is used as an input to the tree-demography model POP (Population-Order-Physiology; Haverd et al., 2014). Within POP the fire-mortality depends on FLI and tree height distribution.Intensity-dependent combustion factors (CF) are then generated for and applied to live and litter carbon pools as well as the transfers from live pools to litter caused by fire.
Thus, both fire and stand characteristics are taken into account which has a legacy effect on future events.

Gross C-CO2 emissions from Australian wild fires are larger than Australian territorial fossil fuel emissions. However, the net effect of fire on the Australian terrestrial carbon budget is unknown. We address this by applying the newly-developed fire module, integrated within the CABLE land surface model, and optimised for the Australian region, to a reassessment of the Australian Terrestrial Carbon Budget.