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Regional feedbacks among fire, climate, and tropical deforestation

Hoffmann, WA, W Schroeder, RB Jackson
Journal of Geophysical Research
Journal Volume/Pages: 

Numerous studies with general circulation models suggest that tropical deforestation can result in regional-scale climate change, namely increased air temperature and wind speed and reduced precipitation and relative humidity. To quantify how this climate change should affect fire risk, we used the NCAR CCM3.2 general circulation model and remote sensing to estimate the effect of tropical deforestation on fire risk through the McArthur forest fire danger index (FFDI). Deforestation reduced precipitation and relative humidity and increased wind speed in the Amazon, Congo, and Indonesia/New Guinea. FFDI increased by 41%, 56% and 58% in these three regions, respectively, due primarily to higher wind speeds and reduced precipitation. Actual fire occurrence in the Amazon, as determined from NOAA-12 images, was strongly correlated with the FFDI calculated from meteorological data (P

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