2005 Progress Report: Interaction of Ecosystems, Fires, Air Quality and Climate Change in the Southeast

EPA Grant Number: R832276
Title: Interaction of Ecosystems, Fires, Air Quality and Climate Change in the Southeast
Investigators: Wang, Yuhang , Liu, Yongqiang , Russell, Armistead G. , Tian, Hanqin
Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology , Auburn University Main Campus , USDA Forest Service
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: April 1, 2005 through March 31, 2009
Project Period Covered by this Report: April 1, 2005 through March 31, 2006
Project Amount: $749,047
RFA: Fire, Climate, and Air Quality (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Climate Change , Air , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Global Climate Change


The objectives of this research project are to: (1) integrate process-based ecosystem, fire emissions, air quality, and regional climate models to understand systematically the complex interaction of these components in the Southeast in a climate change setting; (2) evaluate the integrated modeling system with state fire statistics, ground, and satellite observations for the present and understand better the effects of fire emissions on air quality in the Southeast; (3) propagate and calculate the sensitivities of the modeling system to major inputs and use those sensitivities to quantify uncertainties in the system results; and (4) assess the impact of regional climate changes, land-use changes, and fire management on ecosystems and fire emissions and the consequent effects on air quality in the Southeast. Further, assess the impact of changing aerosol concentrations as a result of fire emissions and other sources on regional climate.

Progress Summary:

During Year 1 of our project, we worked on research related to the first two scientific objectives. The coordination among the different institutes has been streamlined. In addition to e-mail/phone exchanges, we held a project meeting in Atlanta last year that was attended by all of the groups involved in the project. Research tasks and goals for each group were identified; preliminary research results were discussed; modeling interfaces for air quality, climate, and ecosystem systems were clarified; and group coordination was established. The Georgia Institute of Technology (GaTech) group is responsible for fire emissions and air quality modeling using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Model-3 system, including Mesoscale Model version 5 (MM5) simulations, Sparse Matrix Operator Kernal Emissions (SMOKE) processing, and Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) simulations. The Auburn University group is responsible for ecosystem simulations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service group works with GaTech on fire emission and regional climate simulations.

The first two objectives relate mostly to present-day simulations because the model simulations can be evaluated with available observations. A particular concern is the extent that satellite observations can be used for this purpose. Initial simulation for March 2002, the month with the largest fire emissions in the Southeast, was conducted to examine the effects of fire emissions on regional air quality. Sensitivity runs with and without prescribed fire emissions were conducted. Estimated fire emissions and model simulations are evaluated with surface observations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and its components, O3, CO, and NOx. Satellite observations of Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere CO column and the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer fire counts also were evaluated. Manifestations of fire emissions in these observations were identified and used to evaluate model simulations.

The GaTech group provided all necessary input data to the Auburn group for ecosystem modeling. These data include surface ozone concentrations, the deposition of nitrogen species (based on the global model simulations using Goddard Earth Observing System-Chem [GEOS CHEM]), and meteorological data as surface temperature, and incoming solar radiation (obtained from the National Center for Atmospheric Research [NCAR]).

The Auburn group worked on: (1) evaluation of the performance of Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) in the Southeastern ecosystems; (2) development of an integrated process-based Dynamic Land Ecosystem Model (DLEM) for estimating the fuel load of Southeastern ecosystems; (3) database development for the model simulation; (4) model calibration; and (5) preliminary model simulation of the fuel load of Southeastern ecosystems.

Future Activities:

Various tasks that are underway will be continued in Year 2. At GaTech, based on the success run of March 2002, we now are starting a full-year simulation of 2002, which includes MM5 simulations, SMOKE processing, and CMAQ. The transition of CMAQ v4.4 to v4.5.1 requires Meteorology-Chemistry Interface Processor v3 meteorological inputs. We expect to complete the annual run by October 2006. Afterwards, we will conduct model evaluation and analysis. Results from the longer simulations will be presented in a number of conferences and workshops. The GaTech group will initiate simulations for 2050. We will provide downscaled meteorological data to the Auburn group for ecosystem modeling such that biofuel changes and resulting fire emissions can be estimated. We then will start a new 1-year run for year 2050 to explore the interaction of climate change and air quality variations. The Auburn group will complete simulations of 2002 and model calibration with fire emission estimation based on collected state/county data. Ecosystem simulations under climate scenarios will commence afterwards.

Journal Articles on this Report : 2 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 48 publications 16 publications in selected types All 15 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Chen H, Tian H, Liu M, Melillo J, Pan S, Zhang C. Effect of land-cover change on terrestrial carbon dynamics in the southern United States. Journal of Environmental Quality 2006;35(4):1533-1547. R832276 (2005)
R832276 (2006)
R832276 (2007)
R832276 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: Auburn University-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: JEQ-Abstract
  • Journal Article Zhang C, Tian HQ, Pan S, Liu M, Lockaby G, Schilling EB, Stanturf J. Effects of forest regrowth and urbanization on ecosystem carbon storage in a rural-urban gradient in the Southeastern United States. Ecosystems 2008;11(8):1211-1222. R832276 (2005)
    R832276 (Final)
  • Full-text: Springer-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: Springer-Abstract & Full Text HTML
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    prescribed fire, air quality, climate change, ecosystem, sensitivity, and uncertainty, particulate matter, ozone, environmental chemistry, atmosphere, meteorology, climate models,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Environmental Chemistry, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Aquatic Ecosystem, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Atmosphere, anthropogenic stress, Southwest, environmental measurement, meteorology, climatic influence, global ciruclation model, ozone depletion, global change, socioeconomics, ecosystem indicators, climate models, terrestial ecosystem model, aquatic ecosystems, environmental stress, coastal ecosystems, global climate models, climate model, ecosystem stress, forest resources, ecological models, air quality, atmospheric chemistry, climate variability

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2006 Progress Report
  • 2007 Progress Report
  • Final Report