Disentangling the contribution of multiple land covers to fire-mediated carbon emissions in Amazonia during the 2010 drought
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
©2015. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
In less than 15 years, the Amazon region experienced three major droughts. Links between droughts and fires have been demonstrated for the 1997/1998, 2005, and 2010 droughts. In 2010, emissions of 510 ± 120 Tg C were associated to fire alone in Amazonia. Existing approaches have, however, not yet disentangled the proportional contribution of multiple land cover sources to this total. We develop a novel integration of multisensor and multitemporal satellite-derived data on land cover, active fires, and burned area and an empirical model of fire-induced biomass loss to quantify the extent of burned areas and resulting biomass loss for multiple land covers in Mato Grosso (MT) state, southern Amazonia - the 2010 drought most impacted region. We show that 10.77% (96,855 km2) of MT burned. We estimated a gross carbon emission of 56.21 ± 22.5 Tg C from direct combustion of biomass, with an additional 29.4 ± 10 Tg C committed to be emitted in the following years due to dead wood decay. It is estimated that old-growth forest fires in the whole Brazilian Legal Amazon (BLA) have contributed to 14.81 Tg of C (11.75 Tg C to 17.87 Tg C) emissions to the atmosphere during the 2010 fire season, with an affected area of 27,555 km2. Total C loss from the 2010 fires in MT state and old-growth forest fires in the BLA represent, respectively, 77% (47% to 107%) and 86% (68.2% to 103%) of Brazil's National Plan on Climate Change annual target for Amazonia C emission reductions from deforestation.
This work was supported by UK NERC Amazonica grant NE/F005482/1, Brazil MCTI-PCI (302541/ 2014-4), CNPq grants 458022/2013-6 and 400640/2012-0, and NASA-IDS grant NNX14AD31G.
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Vol. 29, pp. 1739 - 1753