Fire history and the global charcoal database: A new tool for hypothesis testing and data exploration

M. J. Power*, J. R. Marlon, P. J. Bartlein, S. P. Harrison

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    112 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Version 1 of the Global Charcoal Database is now available for regional fire history reconstructions, data exploration, hypothesis testing, and evaluation of coupled climate-vegetation-fire model simulations. The charcoal database contains over 400 radiocarbon-dated records that document changes in charcoal abundance during the Late Quaternary. The aim of this public database is to stimulate cross-disciplinary research in fire sciences targeted at an increased understanding of the controls and impacts of natural and anthropogenic fire regimes on centennial-to-orbital timescales. We describe here the data standardization techniques for comparing multiple types of sedimentary charcoal records. Version 1 of the Global Charcoal Database has been used to characterize global and regional patterns in fire activity since the last glacial maximum. Recent studies using the charcoal database have explored the relation between climate and fire during periods of rapid climate change, including evidence of fire activity during the Younger Dryas Chronozone, and during the past two millennia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)52-59
    Number of pages8
    JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
    Volume291
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • Charcoal
    • Database
    • Dynamic global vegetation models
    • Fire history

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