Impact of wildfire on the thermal behavior of northern peatlands: Observations and model simulations

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Impact of wildfire on the thermal behavior of northern peatlands : Observations and model simulations. / Kettridge, N.; Thompson, D. K.; Waddington, J. M.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 117, No. 2, G02014, 12.05.2012.

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@article{8e14ac804bfb412caf1389c9e3fdb1ae,
title = "Impact of wildfire on the thermal behavior of northern peatlands: Observations and model simulations",
abstract = "Wildfire represents the single largest disturbance to the ecohydrological function of northern peatlands. Alterations to peatland thermal behavior as a result of wildfire will modify the carbon balance of these important long-term global carbon stores and regulate post-fire ecosystem recovery. We simulate the 3-D thermal behavior of a peatland that has been disturbed by wildfire to identify how changes in peat temperatures emerge from changes to the surface energy balance and peat thermal properties. Peat temperatures are simulated within two adjacent peatlands, one area having burned 4 years previously, the second which has been wildfire-free for 75 years. We demonstrate that there is only a small alteration to the thermal response in Sphagnum fuscum hummocks that are not severely burnt within the wildfire. In contrast, wildfire produces important changes to the energy balance of Sphagnum hollows. A large reduction in the latent heat flux post-fire increases surface temperatures by up to 30°C during daytime summer conditions. However, temperatures through the peat profile are insensitive to these increases in surface temperature. The low surface moisture content of near-surface peat insulates the profile from these higher temperatures and, at depths below 0.015 m, only small differences are identifiable between burned and unburned hollow temperatures. Nevertheless, we argue that these alterations to near-surface temperatures and evaporation rates likely substantially influence the thermal and hydrological conditions post-wildfire, impacting the peatland recovery.",
keywords = "evaporation, model, peatland, temperature, wildfire",
author = "N. Kettridge and Thompson, {D. K.} and Waddington, {J. M.}",
year = "2012",
month = may,
day = "12",
doi = "10.1029/2011JG001910",
language = "English",
volume = "117",
journal = "Journal of Geophysical Research",
issn = "0148-0227",
publisher = "American Geophysical Union",
number = "2",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Impact of wildfire on the thermal behavior of northern peatlands

T2 - Observations and model simulations

AU - Kettridge, N.

AU - Thompson, D. K.

AU - Waddington, J. M.

PY - 2012/5/12

Y1 - 2012/5/12

N2 - Wildfire represents the single largest disturbance to the ecohydrological function of northern peatlands. Alterations to peatland thermal behavior as a result of wildfire will modify the carbon balance of these important long-term global carbon stores and regulate post-fire ecosystem recovery. We simulate the 3-D thermal behavior of a peatland that has been disturbed by wildfire to identify how changes in peat temperatures emerge from changes to the surface energy balance and peat thermal properties. Peat temperatures are simulated within two adjacent peatlands, one area having burned 4 years previously, the second which has been wildfire-free for 75 years. We demonstrate that there is only a small alteration to the thermal response in Sphagnum fuscum hummocks that are not severely burnt within the wildfire. In contrast, wildfire produces important changes to the energy balance of Sphagnum hollows. A large reduction in the latent heat flux post-fire increases surface temperatures by up to 30°C during daytime summer conditions. However, temperatures through the peat profile are insensitive to these increases in surface temperature. The low surface moisture content of near-surface peat insulates the profile from these higher temperatures and, at depths below 0.015 m, only small differences are identifiable between burned and unburned hollow temperatures. Nevertheless, we argue that these alterations to near-surface temperatures and evaporation rates likely substantially influence the thermal and hydrological conditions post-wildfire, impacting the peatland recovery.

AB - Wildfire represents the single largest disturbance to the ecohydrological function of northern peatlands. Alterations to peatland thermal behavior as a result of wildfire will modify the carbon balance of these important long-term global carbon stores and regulate post-fire ecosystem recovery. We simulate the 3-D thermal behavior of a peatland that has been disturbed by wildfire to identify how changes in peat temperatures emerge from changes to the surface energy balance and peat thermal properties. Peat temperatures are simulated within two adjacent peatlands, one area having burned 4 years previously, the second which has been wildfire-free for 75 years. We demonstrate that there is only a small alteration to the thermal response in Sphagnum fuscum hummocks that are not severely burnt within the wildfire. In contrast, wildfire produces important changes to the energy balance of Sphagnum hollows. A large reduction in the latent heat flux post-fire increases surface temperatures by up to 30°C during daytime summer conditions. However, temperatures through the peat profile are insensitive to these increases in surface temperature. The low surface moisture content of near-surface peat insulates the profile from these higher temperatures and, at depths below 0.015 m, only small differences are identifiable between burned and unburned hollow temperatures. Nevertheless, we argue that these alterations to near-surface temperatures and evaporation rates likely substantially influence the thermal and hydrological conditions post-wildfire, impacting the peatland recovery.

KW - evaporation

KW - model

KW - peatland

KW - temperature

KW - wildfire

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84861150395&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1029/2011JG001910

DO - 10.1029/2011JG001910

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84861150395

VL - 117

JO - Journal of Geophysical Research

JF - Journal of Geophysical Research

SN - 0148-0227

IS - 2

M1 - G02014

ER -