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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 2
Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 815-842, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-11-815-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 815-842, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-11-815-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Model description paper 02 Mar 2018

Model description paper | 02 Mar 2018

A fire model with distinct crop, pasture, and non-agricultural burning: use of new data and a model-fitting algorithm for FINAL.1

Sam S. Rabin1,2, Daniel S. Ward3,a, Sergey L. Malyshev3, Brian I. Magi4, Elena Shevliakova3, and Stephen W. Pacala1 Sam S. Rabin et al.
  • 1Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA
  • 2Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research/Atmospheric Environmental Research, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • 3GFDL-Princeton University Cooperative Institute for Climate Science, Princeton, NJ, USA
  • 4University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Geography and Earth Sciences Department, Charlotte, NC, USA
  • anow at: Karen Clark and Company, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Abstract. This study describes and evaluates the Fire Including Natural & Agricultural Lands model (FINAL) which, for the first time, explicitly simulates cropland and pasture management fires separately from non-agricultural fires. The non-agricultural fire module uses empirical relationships to simulate burned area in a quasi-mechanistic framework, similar to past fire modeling efforts, but with a novel optimization method that improves the fidelity of simulated fire patterns to new observational estimates of non-agricultural burning. The agricultural fire components are forced with estimates of cropland and pasture fire seasonality and frequency derived from observational land cover and satellite fire datasets. FINAL accurately simulates the amount, distribution, and seasonal timing of burned cropland and pasture over 2001–2009 (global totals: 0.434×106 and 2.02×106km2 yr−1 modeled, 0.454×106 and 2.04×106km2 yr−1 observed), but carbon emissions for cropland and pasture fire are overestimated (global totals: 0.295 and 0.706PgC yr−1 modeled, 0.194 and 0.538PgC yr−1 observed). The non-agricultural fire module underestimates global burned area (1.91×106km2 yr−1 modeled, 2.44×106km2 yr−1 observed) and carbon emissions (1.14PgC yr−1 modeled, 1.84PgC yr−1 observed). The spatial pattern of total burned area and carbon emissions is generally well reproduced across much of sub-Saharan Africa, Brazil, Central Asia, and Australia, whereas the boreal zone sees underestimates. FINAL represents an important step in the development of global fire models, and offers a strategy for fire models to consider human-driven fire regimes on cultivated lands. At the regional scale, simulations would benefit from refinements in the parameterizations and improved optimization datasets. We include an in-depth discussion of the lessons learned from using the Levenberg–Marquardt algorithm in an interactive optimization for a dynamic global vegetation model.

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This paper describes a new fire model that for the first time simulates how fire is used on cropland and pasture in the modern day, as imposed using a recently developed dataset. A non-agricultural fire module is fit algorithmically against non-agricultural burned area. Fitting improves performance and the general global pattern of fire is represented, but some gaps remain. The novel separation of agricultural burning from other fire may necessitate new design thinking in the future.
This paper describes a new fire model that for the first time simulates how fire is used on...
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