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Project ID: 11-1-7-2

Year: 2011

Date Started: 10/01/2011

Date Completed: 11/22/2014

Title: Impacts of Mega-Fires on Large U.S. Urban Area Air Quality Under Changing Climate and Fuels

Project Proposal Abstract: Mega-fires can adversely impact air quality in the United States and the impact is likely to become more severe in the future due to the possibly more frequent and intense mega-fires in response to the projected climate change. This study investigates mega-fires and their air quality impacts with a focus on the future trends under changing climate change fuel conditions and will provide information for understanding the questions stated in the Task 7 of the JFSP RFA 2011. A comprehensive approach of data analysis, algorithm development, and numerical modeling will be used to understand the areas and seasons of present mega-fires, project their future trends, and simulate fuel loading and smoke transport. The dynamical downscaling of regional climate change will be used to calculate present and future fire potential indices and analyze atmospheric patterns and properties as thresholds for mega-fire breakout. Ensemble results will be obtained for multiple combinations of global-regional climate model simulations. The objectives include: (1) to build mega-fire probability functions with respect to drought levels measured by fire indices and atmospheric patterns and property thresholds, (2) to project future mega-fires, (3) to obtain present and future fuel loading based on fuel conditions and simulated carbon pools, (4) to simulate smoke trajectories using a smoke transport model, and (5) to evaluate the smoke impacts on air quality in large U.S. urban areas. The research products will be delivered to field managers and researchers through a workshop or training session, conference presentations, journal publications, and webpage. The results are expected to provide essential information for further evaluation of the potential smoke impacts on human health. The applications of dynamical downscaling of regional climate change scenarios and change in fuel loading should improve our understanding of future mega-fire trends and impacts obtained from recent studies. The projection of future trends in mega-fires will provide useful information to fire and land managers and policy makers for developing climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Principal Investigator: Yongqiang Liu

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: SRS-Ctr for Forest Disturbance Science

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Joyce M. Gorgas

Forest Service

SRS-Southern Research Station

Budget Contact

Shelly M. Gates

Forest Service

SRS-Southern Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

John Stanturf

Forest Service

SRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Athens GA

Co-Principal Investigator

Hanquin H. Tian

Auburn University

School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences


Scott L. Goodrick

Forest Service

SRS-Ctr for Forest Disturbance Science

Federal Cooperator

Yongqiang Liu

Forest Service

SRS-Ctr for Forest Disturbance Science

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network




Great Basin

Great Plains

Lake States

Oak Woodlands

Northern Rockies




Southern Rockies









Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print go to website 91 Book Future Wildfire Trends, Impacts, and Mitigation Options in the Southern United States
view or print   1712 Government Publication Detailed 2012 Annual Report
view or print   1790 Government Publication Detailed 2013 progress report
view or print go to website 3219 Journal Article Forest Ecology Management
view or print   3569 Journal Article Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climate
view or print   3295 Journal Article Forest Ecology and Management
view or print   3419 Journal Article Forest Ecology and Management
view or print   3420 Journal Article Journal of Geographical Research: Biogeoscience
view or print   3421 Journal Article International Journal of Remote Sensing
view or print   7606 Training Session Climate Downscaling for Fire Management - Description
view or print   7607 Training Session Climate Downscaling for Fire Management - Presentation

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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