Fire plays a key role in Earth system processes. Wildfires influence the carbon cycle and the nutrient balance of our planet, and may even play a role in regulating the oxygen content of our atmosphere. The evolutionary history of plants has been intimately tied to fire and this in part explains the distribution of our ecosystems and their ability to withstand the effects of natural fires today.
Fire Phenomena and the Earth System brings together the various subdisciplines within fire science to provide a synthesis of our understanding of the role of wildfire in the Earth system. The book shows how knowledge of fire phenomena and the nature of combustion of natural fuels can be used to understand modern wildfires, interpret fire events in the geological record and to understand the role of fire in a variety of Earth system processes. By bringing together chapters written by leading international researchers from a range of geological, environmental, chemical and engineering disciplines, the book will stimulate the exchange of ideas and knowledge across these subject areas. Fire Phenomena and the Earth System provides a truly interdisciplinary guide that can inform us about Earth's past, present and beyond.
List of Contributors
Part 1: Fire Behaviour
Chapter 1. An Introduction to Combustion in Organic Materials
Chapter 2. Smouldering Fires in Natural Fuels
Chapter 3. Experimental Understanding of Wildland Fires
Chapter 4. Wildland Fire Behaviour and Danger Ratings
Chapter 5. Satellite Remote Sensing of Wildfires
Part 2: Fire and the Biosphere
Chapter 6. Understanding the Ecological Impacts of Fires
Chapter 7. Plant Adaptations to Fire an Evolutionary Perspective
Chapter 8. Fire and the Land Surface
Chapter 9. Black Carbon in Soils and Sediments
Part 3: Fire and the Earth’s past
Chapter 10. Identifying Past Fire Events
Chapter 11. A 21,000 Year History of Fire
Chapter 12. A 450 Million Year History of Fire
Part 4: Fire and the Earth System
Chapter 13. The Atmospheric Impact of Wildfires
Chapter 14. Experiments on Atmospheric Oxygen and Fire
Chapter 15. Fire Feedbacks on Atmospheric Oxygen
Chapter 16. Biochar and Carbon Sequestration
Claire M. Belcher is a Senior Lecturer in Earth System Science at the Unviersity of Exeter. Prior to this she held a unique joint position as a Marie Curie Fellow at the School of Geosciences and BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. Her research is internationally recognised for intergrating state-of-the-art modern experimental methods into studies of Earth's ancient past. She is not only seen as a leader in her field but also as an innovator and facilitator of interdisciplinary research within fire science, an approach which is reflected in this book.