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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-263
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-263
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model description paper 14 Oct 2019

Submitted as: model description paper | 14 Oct 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

The interactive global fire module pyrE

Keren Mezuman1,2, Konstantinos Tsigaridis1,2, Gregory Faluvegi1,2, and Susanne E. Bauer2,1 Keren Mezuman et al.
  • 1Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  • 2NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA

Abstract. Fires affect the composition of the atmosphere and Earth’s radiation balance by emitting a suite of reactive gases and particles. An interactive fire module in an Earth System Model (ESM) allows us to study the natural and anthropogenic drivers, feedbacks, and interactions of open fires. To do so, we have developed pyrE, the NASA GISS interactive fire emissions module. The pyrE module is driven by environmental variables like flammability and cloud-to-ground lightning, calculated by the GISS ModelE ESM, and parameterized anthropogenic impacts based on population density data. Fire emissions are generated from the actual flaming phase in pyrE (fire count), not the scar left behind (burned area), as is commonly done in other interactive fire modules. Using pyrE, we examine fire behavior, regional fire suppression, burned area, fire emissions, and how it all affects atmospheric composition. To do so, we evaluate pyrE by comparing it to satellite-based datasets of fire count, burned area, fire emissions, and aerosol optical depth (AOD). We demonstrate pyrE’s ability to simulate the daily and seasonal cycles of open fires and resulting emissions. Our results indicate that interactive fire emissions are bias low by 32–42 %, depending on emitted species, compared to the GFED4s inventory. The bias in emissions drives underestimation in column densities, which is diluted by natural and anthropogenic emissions sources and production and loss mechanisms. Yet, in terms of AOD, a simulation with interactive fire emissions performs just as well as a simulation with prescribed fire emissions.

Keren Mezuman et al.
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Status: open (until 14 Dec 2019)
Status: open (until 14 Dec 2019)
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Keren Mezuman et al.
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Short summary
Fires affect the composition of the atmosphere and Earth’s radiation balance by emitting a suite of reactive gases and particles. An interactive fire module in an Earth System Model (ESM) allows us to study the natural and anthropogenic drivers, feedbacks, and interactions of open fires. To do so, we have developed pyrE, the NASA GISS interactive fire emissions module. The main motivation behind this work, is to have fire emissions reacting to climate change and anthropogenic activities.
Fires affect the composition of the atmosphere and Earth’s radiation balance by emitting a...
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