New paper: Global Modern Charcoal Dataset (GMCD): A tool for exploring proxy-fire linkages and spatial patterns of biomass burning

I am very pleased to share this article by Donna Hawthorne, Colin J. Courtney Mustaphi, Julie Aleman et al. on a new tool and data repository the Global Modern Charcoal Dataset which is currently in development by the GPWG and colleagues working in paleofire research. The GMCD is a unique opportunity to develop paleofire research and achieve charcoal calibration in sediment which should bring new discussion opportunities amongst paleoecologist, modern ecologist, modellers and managers. Stay tuned for developments at http://www.gpwg.paleofire.orgLink to pdf

Abstract:  Progresses in reconstructing Earth’s history of biomass burning has motivated the development of a modern charcoal dataset covering the last decades through a community-based initiative called the Global Modern Charcoal Dataset (GMCD). As the frequency, intensity and spatial scale of fires are predicted to increase regionally and globally in conjunction with changing climate, anthropogenic activities and land-use patterns, there is an increasing need to further understand, calibrate and interrogate recent and past fire regimes as related to changing fire emissions and changing carbon sources and sinks. Discussions at the PAGES Global Paleofire Working Group workshop 2015, including paleoecologists, numerical modelers, statisticians, paleoclimatologists, archeologists, and anthropologists, identified an urgent need for an open, standardized, quality-controlled and globally representative dataset of modern sedimentary charcoal and other sediment-based fire proxies. This dataset fits into a gap between metrics of biomass burning indicators, current fire regimes and land cover, and carbon emissions inventories. The dataset will enable the calibration of paleofire data with other modern datasets including: data of satellite derived fire occurrence, vegetation patterns and species diversity, land cover change, and a range of sources capturing biochemical cycling. Standardized protocols are presented for collecting and analyzing sediment-based fire proxies, including charcoal, levoglucosan, black carbon, and soot. The GMCD will provide a publically-accessible repository of modern fire sediment surface samples in all terrestrial ecosystems. Sample collection and contributions to the dataset will be solicited from lacustrine, peat, marine, glacial, or other sediments, from a wide variety of ecosystems and geographic locations.

Ref: Hawthorne, D., Courtney Mustaphi, C. J., Aleman, J. C., Blarquez, O., Colombaroli, D., Daniau, A.-L., Marlon, J. R., Power, M., Vannière, B., Han, Y., Hantson, S., Kehrwald, N., Magi, B., Yue, X., Carcaillet, C., Marchant, R., Ogunkoya, A., Githumbi, E. N. and Muriuki, R. M. (no date) ‘Global Modern Charcoal Dataset (GMCD): A tool for exploring proxy-fire linkages and spatial patterns of biomass burning’, Quaternary International. doi: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2017.03.046.

Forum Géodiversité

Le labo félicite Andy qui a reçu le prix de vulgarisation au forum Géodiversité du département de géographie qui a eu lieu le 24 mars dernier.  Jordan à quant à lui reçu le prix de la meilleure présentation en Géographie Physique et le prix de la meilleure présentation en Géographie. Par ailleurs la photographie prise par Jordan au dessus des grands lacs à reçu le prix meilleure photographie en géographie à l’évènement GéoArt qui se tenait le 6 avril.

Bravo pour cette belle récolte de prix!

Le Département de géographie affirme son souci d’inclusivité

Montréal, le 3 mars 2017 – S’inscrivant dans les prises de positions récentes en ce sens par d’autres organisations du milieu de la géographie, le Département de géographie de l’Université de Montréal a tenu à réitérer son esprit d’ouverture et d’inclusion. C’est lors de sa 350e Assemblée départementale tenue le 17 février dernier que l’assemblée a adopté à l’unanimité la résolution suivante :
À la lumière de la politique de l’actuelle administration des États‐Unis en matière de science et d’immigration et suite à l’attentat qui a eu lieu au Centre Culturel islamique de Québec en janvier dernier, le Département de géographie de l’Université de Montréal souhaite affirmer son dévouement à la construction de lieux de recherche et d’apprentissage inclusifs et sécuritaires pour tous ses membres et visiteurs, peu importent leurs croyances, leurs origines ethniques ou nationales, leur genre ou orientation sexuelle, leur statut migratoire ou leur condition physique et mentale. Nous considérons que le dialogue et les apprentissages mutuels à travers les différences enrichissent notre milieu. Nous affirmons également de l’importance de la liberté d’expression académique en recherche et enseignement et nous déplorons une politique anti‐savoir, particulièrement en ce qui concerne la recherche liée aux changements climatiques ainsi qu’aux inégalités socio‐spatiales et raciales. Nous considérons enfin que la liberté de mobilité géographique est étroitement liée à la liberté d’expression.
Dans cet esprit, la direction du Département de géographie affirme sa volonté à offrir des espaces inclusifs et sécuritaires et invite ses membres et collaborateurs qui pourraient avoir besoin de soutien ou encore qui souhaiteraient discuter de ces enjeux à la contacter.

http://geographie.umontreal.ca/fileadmin/Documents/FAS/geographie/Nouvelles/Communique_Inclusivite_Dpt_Geographie_UdeM_03_03_2017.pdf

paleofire 1.1.9 !

A new version of the R package paleofire 1.1.9 is available on CRAN (https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=paleofire) and GitHub (https://github.com/oblarquez/paleofire). The release includes few bug fixes and improvements of existing functions, including more flexibility in pfAddData function and new options in kdffreq, see examples below:

library(paleofire)
# Control the type and format of user defined charcoal files
# here for examples csv files with three columns 
#(depth, age and char) separated with semicolon and with "." 
# character used in the file for decimal points:

head(read.csv("http://blarquez.com/public/data/Ben_area.csv"
              ,sep=";"))
files=c("http://blarquez.com/public/data/Ben_area.csv",
 "http://blarquez.com/public/data/Small_area.csv")
mydata=pfAddData(files=files, sep=";", dec=".")
# Transform and compositing:
TR=pfTransform(add=mydata, method=c("MinMax","Box-Cox","Z-Score"),
 BasePeriod=c(200,2000))
COMP=pfComposite(TR1, bins=seq(0,8000,500))
plot(COMP)

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-9-44-55-am

 # Estimate the frequency of armed conflicts from 1946 to 2014 
 # using kernel density estimation from kdffreq
 # Data from the The Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) available at: https://www.prio.org

 dat=read.csv('http://ucdp.uu.se/downloads/ucdpprio/ucdp-prio-acd-4-2016.csv')
 res=kdffreq(dat$Year,bandwidth = "bw.ucv", nbboot=1000, up = 1946, lo = 2014, interval=1, pseudo=T)
 plot(res, ylab="# armed conflict/year")

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-10-03-22-am

New paper: Land-use change outweighs projected effects of changing rainfall on tree cover in sub-Saharan Africa

I am pleased to share this new article with Julie Aleman and Carla Staver: DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13299 (preprint) about modelling of future tree cover in sub-Saharan Africa.

Abstract: 
Global change will likely affect savanna and forest structure and distributions, with implications for diversity within both biomes. Few studies have examined the impacts of both expected precipitation and land-use changes on vegetation structure in the future, despite their likely severity. Here we modeled tree cover in Sub-Saharan Africa, as a proxy for vegetation structure and land cover change, using climatic, edaphic and anthropic data (R2 = 0.97).
Projected tree cover for the year 2070, simulated using scenarios that include climate and land-use projections, generally decreased, both in forest and savanna, although the directionality of changes varied locally. The main driver of tree cover changes was land-use change; the effects of precipitation change were minor by comparison. Interestingly, carbon emissions mitigation via increasing biofuels production resulted in decreases in tree cover, more severe than scenarios with more intense precipitation change, especially within savannas.
Evaluation of tree cover change against protected area extent at the WWF Ecoregion scale suggested areas of high biodiversity and ecosystem services concern. Those forests most vulnerable to large decreases in tree cover were also highly protected, potentially buffering the effects of global change. Meanwhile, savannas, especially where they immediately bordered forests (e.g. West and Central Africa), were characterized by a dearth of protected areas, making them highly vulnerable. Savanna must become an explicit policy priority in the face of climate and land use change if conservation and livelihoods are to remain viable into the next century.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 10.48.03 PM

Figure 3 | Tree cover change projections from 2000-2070 – RCP 2.6 (left maps), biome distribution shifts based on tree cover changes (middle), and WWF Ecoregion conservation risk based on tree cover change and protected area coverage (right). Projections are based on climate and anthropogenic change together (a), anthropogenic change only (b) and climate change only (c).

New paper: Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire: an expert assessment

I am pleased to share this new article based on an expert assessment approach leaded by Ben Abbott. The paper is available via http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034014/meta;jsessionid=B9105E9A62A05ADEBDBD3CAA8F3A4A64.c3.iopscience.cld.iop.org

Abstract: As the permafrost region warms, its large organic carbon pool will be increasingly vulnerable to decomposition, combustion, and hydrologic export. Models predict that some portion of this release will be offset by increased production of Arctic and boreal biomass; however, the lack of robust estimates of net carbon balance increases the risk of further overshooting international emissions targets. Precise empirical or model-based assessments of the critical factors driving carbon balance are unlikely in the near future, so to address this gap, we present estimates from 98 permafrost-region experts of the response of biomass, wildfire, and hydrologic carbon flux to climate change. Results suggest that contrary to model projections, total permafrost-region biomass could decrease due to water stress and disturbance, factors that are not adequately incorporated in current models. Assessments indicate that end-of-the-century organic carbon release from Arctic rivers and collapsing coastlines could increase by 75% while carbon loss via burning could increase four-fold. Experts identified water balance, shifts in vegetation community, and permafrost degradation as the key sources of uncertainty in predicting future system response. In combination with previous findings, results suggest the permafrost region will become a carbon source to the atmosphere by 2100 regardless of warming scenario but that 65%–85% of permafrost carbon release can still be avoided if human emissions are actively reduced.

Figure 2. Estimates of change in non-soil biomass, wildfire emissions, and hydrologic carbon flux from the permafrost region for four warming scenarios at three time points. All values represent change from current pools or fluxes reported in table 2. Biomass includes above and belowground living biomass, standing deadwood, and litter. Dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC and POC respectively) fluxes represent transfer of carbon from terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems. ‘Coast’ represents POC released by coastal erosion. Representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenarios range from aggressive emissions reductions (RCP2.6) to sustained human emissions (RCP8.5). Box plots represent median, quartiles, and minimum and maximum within 1.5 times the interquartile range. Relative change (percent change from current state) is presented in figure S1 and full distributions are presented in figures S2–S4.

Citation: Abbott, B. W., Jones, J. B., Schuur, E. A. G., III, F. S. C., Bowden, W. B., Bret-Harte, M. S., Epstein, H. E., Flannigan, M. D., Harms, T. K., Hollingsworth, T. N., Mack, M. C., McGuire, A. D., Natali, S. M., Rocha, A. V., Tank, S. E., Turetsky, M. R., Vonk, J. E., Wickland, K. P., Aiken, G. R., Alexander, H. D., Amon, R. M. W., Benscoter, B. W., Bergeron, Y., Bishop, K., Blarquez, O., Bond-Lamberty, B., Breen, A. L., Buffam, I., Cai, Y., Carcaillet, C., Carey, S. K., Chen, J. M., Chen, H. Y. H., Christensen, T. R., Cooper, L. W., Cornelissen, J. H. C., de Groot, W. J., DeLuca, T. H., Dorrepaal, E., Fetcher, N., Finlay, J. C., Forbes, B. C., French, N. H. F., Gauthier, S., Girardin, M. P., Goetz, S. J., Goldammer, J. G., Gough, L., Grogan, P., Guo, L., Higuera, P. E., Hinzman, L., Hu, F. S., Hugelius, G., Jafarov, E. E., Jandt, R., Johnstone, J. F., Karlsson, J., Kasischke, E. S., Kattner, G., Kelly, R., Keuper, F., Kling, G. W., Kortelainen, P., Kouki, J., Kuhry, P., Laudon, H., Laurion, I., Macdonald, R. W., Mann, P. J., Martikainen, P. J., McClelland, J. W., Molau, U., Oberbauer, S. F., Olefeldt, D., Par ́e, D., Parisien, M.-A., Payette, S., Peng, C., Pokrovsky, O. S., Rastetter, E. B., Raymond, P. A., Raynolds, M. K., Rein, G., Reynolds, J. F., Robard, M., Rogers, B. M., Sch ̈adel, C., Schaefer, K., Schmidt, I. K., Shvidenko, A., Sky, J., Spencer, R. G. M., Starr, G., Striegl, R. G., Teisserenc, R., Tranvik, L. J., Virtanen, T., Welker, J. M., and Zimov, S. (2016). Biomass offsets little or none of permafrost carbon release from soils, streams, and wildfire: an expert assessment. Environmental Research Letters, 11(3):034014.