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Friday's Findings - January 8 2020

January 6, 2021
We Did Start the Fire: Humans, Climate and Fire in the Holocene

Date: January 8, 2021 from 2-2:30 p.m. eastern time

Speaker: Natalie Kehrwald, Research Geologist, Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center

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Call-in Option: +1 202-640-1187   

Conference ID: 387 327 121#

dark aerosols on glacier in Juneau Icefield
Patches of dark ice due to dark aerosols deposition and melting on the Matthes Glacier, Juneau Icefield, Alaska. (Credit: Natalie Kehrwald, USGS. Public domain.)

Large wildfires have raged across the western Americas in the past decade including the Las Conchas, New Mexico fire that burned 44,000 acres in a single day in 2011 (Orem and Pelletier, 2015, Geomorphology 232: 224-238, and references therein), the 2016 Fort McMurray, Alberta fire that required evacuating an entire city, and the 2015 Alaskan fire season that burned more than 5 million acres (Alaska Interagency Coodination Center). These fires are caused by a changing climate resulting in hotter, drier conditions across much of the western North America, and are augmented by land-use practices resulting in more potential forest fuel. It is essential to place these fires in a longer temporal context to examine if recent fires are anomalous or if they have occurred in the past under diverse climate conditions. This talk with present research and methods developed to determine molecular markers of fire activity in ice and lake cores. 

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