Articles | Volume 20, issue 4
Research article 24 Apr 2020
Research article | 24 Apr 2020
Satellite hydrology observations as operational indicators of forecasted fire danger across the contiguous United States
Alireza Farahmand et al.
No articles found.
Yan Yang, A. Anthony Bloom, Shuang Ma, Paul Levine, Alexander Norton, Nicholas C. Parazoo, John T. Reager, John Worden, Gregory R. Quetin, T. Luke Smallman, Mathew Williams, Liang Xu, and Sassan Saatchi
Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss.,
Preprint under review for GMDShort summary
Global carbon and water have large uncertainties that are hard to quantify in current regional and global models. Field observations provide opportunities for better calibration and validation of current modeling of carbon and water. With the unique structure of CARDAMOM model, we have utilized the data assimilation capability and designed the benchmarking framework by taking field observations into modeling. Results show that data assimilation improves model performance in different aspects.
Elizabeth B. Wiggins, Arlyn Andrews, Colm Sweeney, John B. Miller, Charles E. Miller, Sander Veraverbeke, Roisin Commane, Steven Wofsy, John M. Henderson, and James T. Randerson
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 8557–8574,Short summary
We analyzed high-resolution trace gas measurements collected from a tower in Alaska during a very active fire season to improve our understanding of trace gas emissions from boreal forest fires. Our results suggest previous studies may have underestimated emissions from smoldering combustion in boreal forest fires.
Qing Zhu, Fa Li, William J. Riley, Li Xu, Lei Zhao, Kunxiaojia Yuan, Huayi Wu, Jianya Gong, and James T. Randerson
Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss.,
Revised manuscript under review for GMDShort summary
Wildfire is a devastating earth system process that burns about 500 million hectares of land each year. It wipes out vegetation including trees, shrubs, and grasses, and causes large losses of economic assets. However, modeling the spatial distribution and temporal changes of wildfire activities at a global scale is challenging. This study built a machine learning-based wildfire surrogate model within an existing earth system model and achieved high accuracy.
Miguel Ricardo A. Hilario, Ewan Crosbie, Michael Shook, Jeffrey S. Reid, Maria Obiminda L. Cambaliza, James Bernard B. Simpas, Luke Ziemba, Joshua P. DiGangi, Glenn S. Diskin, Phu Nguyen, F. Joseph Turk, Edward Winstead, Claire E. Robinson, Jian Wang, Jiaoshi Zhang, Yang Wang, Subin Yoon, James Flynn, Sergio L. Alvarez, Ali Behrangi, and Armin Sorooshian
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 3777–3802,Short summary
This study characterizes long-range transport from major Asian pollution sources into the tropical northwest Pacific and the impact of scavenging on these air masses. We combined aircraft observations, HYSPLIT trajectories, reanalysis, and satellite retrievals to reveal distinct composition and size distribution profiles associated with specific emission sources and wet scavenging. The results of this work have implications for international policymaking related to climate and health.
Elias C. Massoud, A. Anthony Bloom, Marcos Longo, John T. Reager, Paul A. Levine, and John R. Worden
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,
Revised manuscript under review for HESSShort summary
The water balance on river basin scales depends on a number of soil physical processes. Gaining information on these quantities using observations is a key step towards improving the skill of land surface hydrology models. In this study, we use data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (NASA-GRACE) to inform and constrain these hydrologic processes. We show that our model is able to simulate the land hydrologic cycle for a watershed in the Amazon from January 2003 to December 2012.
Alka Singh, John Thomas Reager, and Ali Behrangi
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 511–526,Short summary
The study demonstrates the utility of Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) terrestrial water storage anomalies (TWSAs) for obtaining statistics of hydrological droughts, i.e., recovery periods and required precipitation in different precipitation scenarios. The findings of this study are that the GRACE-based drought index is valid for estimating the required precipitation for drought recovery, and the period of drought recovery depends on the intensity of the precipitation.
A. Anthony Bloom, Kevin W. Bowman, Junjie Liu, Alexandra G. Konings, John R. Worden, Nicholas C. Parazoo, Victoria Meyer, John T. Reager, Helen M. Worden, Zhe Jiang, Gregory R. Quetin, T. Luke Smallman, Jean-François Exbrayat, Yi Yin, Sassan S. Saatchi, Mathew Williams, and David S. Schimel
Biogeosciences, 17, 6393–6422,Short summary
We use a model of the 2001–2015 tropical land carbon cycle, with satellite measurements of land and atmospheric carbon, to disentangle lagged and concurrent effects (due to past and concurrent meteorological events, respectively) on annual land–atmosphere carbon exchanges. The variability of lagged effects explains most 2001–2015 inter-annual carbon flux variations. We conclude that concurrent and lagged effects need to be accurately resolved to better predict the world's land carbon sink.
Hossein Dadashazar, Ewan Crosbie, Mohammad S. Majdi, Milad Panahi, Mohammad A. Moghaddam, Ali Behrangi, Michael Brunke, Xubin Zeng, Haflidi H. Jonsson, and Armin Sorooshian
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 4637–4665,Short summary
Clearings in the marine-boundary-layer (MBL) cloud deck of the Pacific Ocean were studied. Remote sensing, reanalysis, and airborne data were used along with machine-learning modeling to characterize the spatiotemporal nature of clearings and factors governing their growth. The most significant implications of our results are linked to modeling of fog and MBL clouds, with implications for societal and environmental issues like climate, military operations, transportation, and coastal ecology.
Joseph T. D. Lucey, John T. Reager, and Sonya R. Lopez
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 1415–1427,Short summary
This work relates total water storage (TWS) and rainfall to surface water inundation (SWI) using NASA satellite data. We determine whether TWS and/or rainfall control global SWI developments. Regression methods and cross-correlations were used to relate the measurements and correct for time differences among peaks. Results show TWS and rainfall control most global SWI developments. To our knowledge, this is the first global study on SWI controls and validates previous findings.
Heloisa Ehalt Macedo, Ralph Edward Beighley, Cédric H. David, and John T. Reager
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 23, 3269–3277,Short summary
The water stored under the surface is very important for defining the amount of water available for human and environmental applications; however, it is still a challenge to obtain such measurements. NASA's GRACE satellites provide information on total terrestrial water storage based on observations of gravity changes. Here, we relate GRACE data to streamflow measurements, providing estimations of the fraction of baseflow and total drainable storage for the Mississippi River basin.
Niels Andela, Douglas C. Morton, Louis Giglio, Ronan Paugam, Yang Chen, Stijn Hantson, Guido R. van der Werf, and James T. Randerson
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 11, 529–552,Short summary
Natural and human-ignited fires affect all major biomes, and satellite observations provide evidence for rapid changes in global fire activity. The Global Fire Atlas of individual fire size, duration, speed, and direction is the first global data product on individual fire behavior. Moving towards a global understanding of individual fire behavior is a critical next step in fire research, required to understand how global fire regimes are changing in response to land management and climate.
Guido R. van der Werf, James T. Randerson, Louis Giglio, Thijs T. van Leeuwen, Yang Chen, Brendan M. Rogers, Mingquan Mu, Margreet J. E. van Marle, Douglas C. Morton, G. James Collatz, Robert J. Yokelson, and Prasad S. Kasibhatla
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9, 697–720,Short summary
Fires occur in many vegetation types and are sometimes natural but often ignited by humans for various purposes. We have estimated how much area they burn globally and what their emissions are. Total burned area is roughly equivalent to the size of the EU with most fires burning in tropical savannas. Their emissions vary substantially from year to year and contribute to the atmospheric burdens of many trace gases and aerosols. The 20-year dataset is mostly suited for large-scale assessments.
Paul A. Levine, James T. Randerson, Sean C. Swenson, and David M. Lawrence
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 4837–4856,Short summary
We demonstrate a new approach to assess the strength of feedbacks resulting from land–atmosphere coupling on decadal timescales. Our approach was tailored to enable evaluation of Earth system models (ESMs) using data from Earth observation satellites that measure terrestrial water storage anomalies and relevant atmospheric variables. Our results are consistent with previous work demonstrating that ESMs may be overestimating the strength of land surface feedbacks compared with observations.
Weiwei Fu, James T. Randerson, and J. Keith Moore
Biogeosciences, 13, 5151–5170,Short summary
Global NPP and EP are reduced considerably for RCP8.5. Negative response of NPP and EP to stratification increases reflects a bottom-up control. Models with dynamic phytoplankton community structure show larger declines in EP than in NPP driven by phytoplankton community composition shifts. Projections of the NPP response to climate change depend on the phytoplankton community structure, the efficiency of the biological pump and the levels of regenerated production.
Chris D. Jones, Vivek Arora, Pierre Friedlingstein, Laurent Bopp, Victor Brovkin, John Dunne, Heather Graven, Forrest Hoffman, Tatiana Ilyina, Jasmin G. John, Martin Jung, Michio Kawamiya, Charlie Koven, Julia Pongratz, Thomas Raddatz, James T. Randerson, and Sönke Zaehle
Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 2853–2880,Short summary
How the carbon cycle interacts with climate will affect future climate change and how society plans emissions reductions to achieve climate targets. The Coupled Climate Carbon Cycle Model Intercomparison Project (C4MIP) is an endorsed activity of CMIP6 and aims to quantify these interactions and feedbacks in state-of-the-art climate models. This paper lays out the experimental protocol for modelling groups to follow to contribute to C4MIP. It is a contribution to the CMIP6 GMD Special Issue.
E. A. Sproles, S. G. Leibowitz, J. T. Reager, P. J. Wigington Jr, J. S. Famiglietti, and S. D. Patil
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 3253–3272,Short summary
The paper demonstrates how data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) can be used to describe the relationship between water stored at the regional scale and stream flow. Additionally, we employ GRACE as a regional-scale indicator to successfully predict stream flow later in the water year. Our work focuses on the Columbia River Basin (North America), but is widely applicable across the globe, and could prove to be particularly useful in regions with limited hydrological data.
Related subject area
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Alessandro Gattuso, Francesco Italiano, Giorgio Capasso, Antonino D'Alessandro, Fausto Grassa, Antonino Fabio Pisciotta, and Davide Romano
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 3407–3419,Short summary
Santa Barbara and Aragona are affected by mud volcanism with episodic hazardous paroxysm events. Two potentially hazardous paroxysm exposed surfaces of 0.12 and 0.20 km2 were elaborated with DSMs and with historical information on the paroxysms that occurred in the past. This paper, in the end, could be a useful tool for civil protection authorities in order to take appropriate risk mitigation measurements for exposed people and for monitoring activities.
Kathryn C. Fisher, Pascal Haegeli, and Patrick Mair
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 3219–3242,Short summary
Avalanche warning services publish condition reports to help backcountry recreationists make informed decisions about when and where to travel in avalanche terrain. We tested how different graphic representations of terrain information can affect users’ ability to interpret and apply the provided information. Our study shows that a combined presentation of aspect and elevation information is the most effective. These results can be used to improve avalanche risk communication products.
Jeffrey Katan and Liliana Perez
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 3141–3160,Short summary
Wildfires are an integral part of ecosystems worldwide, but they also pose a serious risk to human life and property. To further our understanding of wildfires and allow experimentation without recourse to live fires, this study presents an agent-based modelling approach to combine the complexity possible with physical models with the ease of computation of empirical models. Model calibration and validation show bottom-up simulation tracks the core elements of complexity of fire across scales.
Xiaowen Wang, Lin Liu, Yan Hu, Tonghua Wu, Lin Zhao, Qiao Liu, Rui Zhang, Bo Zhang, and Guoxiang Liu
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 2791–2810,Short summary
We characterized the multi-decadal geomorphic changes of a low-angle valley glacier in the East Kunlun Mountains and assessed the detachment hazard influence. The observations reveal a slow surge-like dynamic pattern of the glacier tongue. The maximum runout distances of two endmember avalanche scenarios were presented. This study provides a reference to evaluate the runout hazards of low-angle mountain glaciers prone to detachment.
Xuguo Shi, Shaocheng Zhang, Mi Jiang, Yuanyuan Pei, Tengteng Qu, Jinhu Xu, and Chen Yang
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 2285–2297,Short summary
We mapped the subsidence of Wuhan using Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images acquired during 2015–2019. Overall subsidence coincides with the distribution of engineered geological regions with soft soils, while the subsidence centers shifted with urban construction activities. Correlation between karst subsidence and concentrated rainfall was identified in Qingling–Jiangdi. Results indicate that interferometric SAR can be employed to routinely monitor and identify geohazards.
Mirlan Daiyrov and Chiyuki Narama
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 2245–2256,Short summary
In the Teskey Range of the Tien Shan (Kyrgyz Republic), four outburst flood disasters from short-lived glacial lakes in 2006, 2008, 2013, and 2014 caused severe damages in the downstream part. Short-lived glacial lakes grow rapidly and drain within a few months, due to closure and opening of an outlet ice tunnel in an ice-cored moraine complex at the glacier front. We investigated how short-lived glacial lakes store and drain water over short periods based on field survey and satellite data.
Roberto Villalobos-Herrera, Emanuele Bevacqua, Andreia F. S. Ribeiro, Graeme Auld, Laura Crocetti, Bilyana Mircheva, Minh Ha, Jakob Zscheischler, and Carlo De Michele
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 1867–1885,Short summary
Climate hazards may be caused by events which have multiple drivers. Here we present a method to break down climate model biases in hazard indicators down to the bias caused by each driving variable. Using simplified fire and heat stress indicators driven by temperature and relative humidity as examples, we show how multivariate indicators may have complex biases and that the relationship between driving variables is a source of bias that must be considered in climate model bias corrections.
Veronika Hutter, Frank Techel, and Ross S. Purves
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,
Revised manuscript accepted for NHESSShort summary
How is avalanche danger described in public avalanche forecasts? We analyzed 6000 textual descriptions of avalanche danger in Switzerland, taking the perspective of the forecaster. Avalanche danger was described rather consistently, although the results highlight the difficulty of communicating conditions that are neither rare nor frequent, neither small nor large. The study may help to refine the ways in which avalanche danger could and should be communicated to the public.
Edilia Jaque Castillo, Alfonso Fernández, Rodrigo Fuentes Robles, and Carolina G. Ojeda
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,
Revised manuscript accepted for NHESSShort summary
Wildfires pose risks to lives and livelihoods in many regions of the world. Particularly in Chile's Central South region, climate change, widespread land use change, and urban growth tend to increase the likelihood of fire occurrence. Our work focused on the Concepción Metropolitan Area where we developed a model using Machine Learning in order to map wildfire risks. We found that the interface between urban areas and forestry plantations presents highest risks.
Kerstin Wegner, Florian Haas, Tobias Heckmann, Anne Mangeney, Virginie Durand, Nicolas Villeneuve, Philippe Kowalski, Aline Peltier, and Michael Becht
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 1159–1177,Short summary
In mountainous regions rockfall is a common geomorphic process. We selected four study sites that feature different rock types. High-resolution terrestrial laser scanning data were acquired to measure the block size and block shape (axial ratio) of rockfall particles on the scree deposits. Laser scanning data were also used to characterize the morphology of these landforms. Our results show that hill slope and rock particle properties govern rock particle runout in a complex manner.
Eszter Szűcs, Sándor Gönczy, István Bozsó, László Bányai, Alexandru Szakacs, Csilla Szárnya, and Viktor Wesztergom
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 977–993,Short summary
Sinkhole formation and post-collapse deformation in the Solotvyno salt mining area was studied where the salt dissolution due to water intrusion poses a significant risk. Based on a Sentinel-1 data set, remarkable surface deformation with a maximum rate of 5 cm/yr was revealed, and it was demonstrated that the deformation process has a linear characteristic although the mining activity was ended more than 10 years ago.
Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Folmer Krikken, Sophie Lewis, Nicholas J. Leach, Flavio Lehner, Kate R. Saunders, Michiel van Weele, Karsten Haustein, Sihan Li, David Wallom, Sarah Sparrow, Julie Arrighi, Roop K. Singh, Maarten K. van Aalst, Sjoukje Y. Philip, Robert Vautard, and Friederike E. L. Otto
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 941–960,Short summary
Southeastern Australia suffered from disastrous bushfires during the 2019/20 fire season, raising the question whether these have become more likely due to climate change. We found no attributable trend in extreme annual or monthly low precipitation but a clear shift towards more extreme heat. However, this shift is underestimated by the models. Analysing fire weather directly, we found that the chance has increased by at least 30 %, but due to the underestimation it could well be higher.
Andrew R. Schauer, Jordy Hendrikx, Karl W. Birkeland, and Cary J. Mock
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 757–774,Short summary
Our research links upper atmospheric circulation patterns to a destructive and difficult-to-predict type of snow avalanche in the western United States. At each of our study sites, we find unique circulation patterns that tend to occur at the beginning of the winter season during years with major avalanche activity. We also find specific patterns that occur frequently in the days leading to major avalanche events. This work will enable practitioners to better anticipate these challenging events.
Erich Peitzsch, Jordy Hendrikx, Daniel Stahle, Gregory Pederson, Karl Birkeland, and Daniel Fagre
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 533–557,Short summary
We sampled 647 trees from 12 avalanche paths to investigate large snow avalanches over the past 400 years in the northern Rocky Mountains, USA. Sizable avalanches occur approximately every 3 years across the region. Our results emphasize the importance of sample size, scale, and spatial extent when reconstructing avalanche occurrence across a region. This work can be used for infrastructure planning and avalanche forecasting operations.
Simon Horton, Moses Towell, and Pascal Haegeli
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3551–3576,Short summary
We investigate patterns in how avalanche forecasters characterize snow avalanche hazard with avalanche problem types. Decision tree analysis was used to investigate both physical influences based on weather and on snowpack variables and operational practices. The results highlight challenges with developing decision aids based on previous hazard assessments.
Dan K. Thompson and Kimberly Morrison
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3439–3454,Short summary
We describe critically low relative humidity and high wind speeds above which only documented wildfires were seen to occur and where no agricultural fires were documented in southern Canada. We then applied these thresholds to the much larger satellite record from 2002–2018 to quantify regional differences in both the rate of observed burning and the number of days with critical weather conditions to sustain a wildfire in this grassland and agricultural region.
Chuanguang Zhu, Wenhao Wu, Mahdi Motagh, Liya Zhang, Zongli Jiang, and Sichun Long
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3399–3411,Short summary
We investigate the contemporary ground deformation along the RLHR-HZ using Sentinel-1 data and find that the RLHR-HZ runs through two main subsidence areas. A total length of 35 km of the RLSR-HZ is affected by the two subsidence basins. Considering the previous investigation coupled with information on human activities, we conclude that the subsidence is mainly caused by extraction of groundwater and underground mining.
Negar Ghahramani, Andrew Mitchell, Nahyan M. Rana, Scott McDougall, Stephen G. Evans, and W. Andy Take
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3425–3438,Short summary
Tailings flows result from the breach of tailings dams. These flows contain waste products of the mineral processing operations and can travel substantial distances, causing significant loss of life, environmental damage, and economic costs. This paper establishes a new tailings-flow runout classification system, describes a new database of events that have been mapped in detail using the new system, and examines the applicability of a semi-physical area–volume relationship using the new data.
Tae-Young Kwak, Sang-Inn Woo, Choong-Ki Chung, and Joonyoung Kim
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3343–3359,Short summary
In this study, model tests were used to analyze the effects of rainfall intensity on the formation of the eroded zone and the occurrence of sinkholes due to groundwater infiltration through pipe defects. The model tests were conducted to simulate the actual site conditions considering the soil used around sewer pipe networks and the sewer pipe landfill standards. The groundwater level was applied to the model tests by setting three hydraulic heads based on heavy-rainfall characteristics.
Erwan Le Roux, Guillaume Evin, Nicolas Eckert, Juliette Blanchet, and Samuel Morin
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 2961–2977,Short summary
To minimize the risk of structure collapse due to extreme snow loads, structure standards rely on 50-year return levels of ground snow load (GSL), i.e. levels exceeded once every 50 years on average, that do not account for climate change. We study GSL data in the French Alps massifs from 1959 and 2019 and find that these 50-year return levels are decreasing with time between 900 and 4800 m of altitude, but they still exceed return levels of structure standards for half of the massifs at 1800 m.
Bettina Richter, Alec van Herwijnen, Mathias W. Rotach, and Jürg Schweizer
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 2873–2888,Short summary
We investigated the sensitivity of modeled snow instability to uncertainties in meteorological input, typically found in complex terrain. The formation of the weak layer was very robust due to the long dry period, indicated by a widespread avalanche problem. Once a weak layer has formed, precipitation mostly determined slab and weak layer properties and hence snow instability. When spatially assessing snow instability for avalanche forecasting, accurate precipitation patterns have to be known.
Francesca Di Giuseppe, Claudia Vitolo, Blazej Krzeminski, Christopher Barnard, Pedro Maciel, and Jesús San-Miguel
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 2365–2378,Short summary
Forecasting of daily fire weather indices driven by the ECMWF ensemble prediction system is shown to have a good skill up to 10 d ahead in predicting flammable conditions in most regions of the world. The availability of these forecasts through the Copernicus Emergency Management Service can extend early warnings by up to 1–2 weeks, allowing for greater proactive coordination of resource-sharing and mobilization within and across countries.
Andrea Franco, Jasper Moernaut, Barbara Schneider-Muntau, Michael Strasser, and Bernhard Gems
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 2255–2279,Short summary
This study highlights the use of the software Flow-3D in reproducing landslide-generated impulse waves. Due to the available data and the possibility of comparing the results with other previous works, a numerical modelling investigation on the 1958 Lituya Bay tsunami event is proposed. It is noted that the rockslide impact into the waterbody has a key role in the wave initiation and thus its propagation. The concept used in this work can be applied to prevent such phenomena in future.
Frank Techel, Kurt Winkler, Matthias Walcher, Alec van Herwijnen, and Jürg Schweizer
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 1941–1953,Short summary
Snow instability tests, like the extended column test (ECT), provide valuable information regarding point snow instability. A large data set of ECT – together with information on slope instability – was explored. The findings clearly show that combining information regarding propagation propensity and fracture initiation provided the best correlation with slope instability. A new four-class stability interpretation scheme is proposed for ECT results.
Silvan Leinss, Raphael Wicki, Sämi Holenstein, Simone Baffelli, and Yves Bühler
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 1783–1803,Short summary
To assess snow avalanche mapping with radar satellites in Switzerland, we compare 2 m resolution TerraSAR-X images, 10 m resolution Sentinel-1 images, and optical 1.5 m resolution SPOT-6 images. We found that radar satellites provide a valuable option to map at least larger avalanches, though avalanches are mapped only partially. By combining multiple orbits and polarizations from S1, we achieved mapping results of quality almost comparable to single high-resolution TerraSAR-X images.
Mercy N. Ndalila, Grant J. Williamson, Paul Fox-Hughes, Jason Sharples, and David M. J. S. Bowman
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 1497–1511,Short summary
We analyse the evolution of a pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb), or fire-induced thunderstorm, during the Forcett–Dunalley fire on 4 January 2013 and relate it to the prevailing fire weather and fire severity patterns. We show that the pyroCb reached an altitude of 15 km, was associated with elevated fire weather, and formed over a severely burned area. Additionally, we show that eastern Tasmania is prone to elevated fire weather which has implications for fire weather forecasting and fire management.
Robert D. Field
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 1123–1147,Short summary
This paper compares fire weather indices calculated from the NASA MERRA-2 reanlaysis to those calculated from a global network of weather stations, finding that, globally, biases in reanalysis fire weather are influenced firstly by temperature and relative humidity and, in certain regions, by precipitation biases. Fire weather forecasts using short-term NASA GEOS-5 weather forecasts are skillful 2 d ahead of time. This skill decreases more quickly with longer lead times at high latitudes.
Holt Hancock, Markus Eckerstorfer, Alexander Prokop, and Jordy Hendrikx
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 603–623,Short summary
This work uses terrestrial laser scanning techniques to monitor and quantify changes to snow cornices near Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, with sub-decimeter accuracy. Our findings illustrate how complex interactions between topography and meteorological conditions govern the growth, failure, and associated avalanche activity of the cornices in this location. These findings can help improve forecasting of snow-cornice-related hazards in this and other locations exposed to snow cornice hazards.
Arthur Depicker, Bernard De Baets, and Jan Marcel Baetens
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 363–376,Short summary
In recent years, several valuable nature reserves in Belgium have been severely damaged by wildfires. In order to optimize risk management and prepare for a possibly increasing number of such events, the first wildfire ignition probability map is developed for Belgium, based on data that were obtained from the government and newspaper articles. We find that most ignitions occur in the provinces of Limburg and Antwerp and that most causes are of anthropogenic nature (such as military exercises).
Margherita Maggioni, Danilo Godone, Barbara Frigo, and Michele Freppaz
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 2667–2676,
Javier Elío, Giorgia Cinelli, Peter Bossew, José Luis Gutiérrez-Villanueva, Tore Tollefsen, Marc De Cort, Alessio Nogarotto, and Roberto Braga
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 2451–2464,Short summary
The first version of the Pan-European Indoor Radon Map is presented in this article. The map has been developed using summary statistics estimated from 1.2 million samples. It represents an average radon concentration per 10 km x 10 km grid cell under the assumption that there are dwellings in the grid cell. It is a major contribution to the understanding of the exposure to ionizing radiation of Europeans and a first step towards a European radon exposure and, in the future, radon dose map.
Michele Perrotti, Piernicola Lollino, Nunzio Luciano Fazio, and Mario Parise
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 2079–2095,Short summary
Based on stability charts proposed by Perrotti et al. (2018), preliminary assessment of stability/instability of underground quarries in soft carbonate rocks is discussed with reference to six case studies of underground artificial cavities, including three affected by sinkhole failures in the past and three in stable conditions at present. When underground quarries are suitably surveyed and mapped, a quantitative assessment of the stability conditions is possible.
Reto Sterchi, Pascal Haegeli, and Patrick Mair
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 2011–2026,Short summary
Mechanized skiing operations use an established process to select skiing terrain with a low risk level. However, the relationship between appropriate skiing terrain and avalanche conditions has only received limited research attention. Our study examines this relationship numerically for the first time and shows the effects of avalanche hazard, previous skiing, and previous acceptability on different types of skiing terrain and offers the foundation to develop evidence-based decision tools.
Marco A. Perez-Flores, Luis E. Ochoa-Tinajero, and Almendra Villela y Mendoza
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 1779–1787,Short summary
In this paper we present an EM geophysics method designed for shallow purposes for determining the 3-D geometry of a sinkhole. In this case we are applying the technique for the Chac-Mool sinkhole in the Yucatán Peninsula. Thanks to scuba divers we have a broad path they followed along the subterranean rivers. Our 3-D model can be correlated with those scuba diver paths. We also found hidden rivers that pass very close to the surface (less than 10 m) making these areas susceptible to collapse.
Sílvia A. Nunes, Carlos C. DaCamara, Kamil F. Turkman, Teresa J. Calado, Ricardo M. Trigo, and Maria A. A. Turkman
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 1459–1470,Short summary
Portugal is recurrently affected by large wildfire events. We present a statistical model to estimate the probability that the summer burned area exceeds a given threshold. The model allows making outlooks of wildfire potential with up to 1 month in advance of the fire season. When applied to the 39-year period 1980-2018, only 1 severe (one weak) year is not anticipated as potentially severe (weak). The model will assist the fire community when planning prevention and combating fire events.
Anne Ganteaume and Renaud Barbero
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 1055–1066,Short summary
Long-term georeferenced time series showed spatiotemporal variations in large fires (LF ≥ 100 ha) throughout the French Mediterranean with 21 % of the total LF burned area occurring on surface previously burned. The region was impacted up to five to six times by recurrent LFs, the east experiencing fewer but larger LFs despite fire weather conditions decreasing eastwards. The efficiency of fire management has improved but LF outbreaks during extreme weather conditions remain a major concern.
Renaud Barbero, Thomas Curt, Anne Ganteaume, Eric Maillé, Marielle Jappiot, and Adeline Bellet
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 441–454,Short summary
We developed statistical models simulating the probability of large wildfires in France from the climate forcing. The models were able to reproduce both spatial and temporal variability in large wildfires across different environmental regions. The models have wide applications, including improving our understanding of the drivers of large wildfires over the historical period and providing a basis on which to estimate future changes to large wildfires from climate projections.
Reto Sterchi and Pascal Haegeli
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 269–285,Short summary
We used a revealed preference approach and identified patterns in risk management decisions of mechanized skiing operations. Our results show that terrain choices of experienced guides depend on a much broader set of factors beyond just the avalanche hazard, including skiing experience or accessibility due to weather. The identified high-resolution ski run hierarchies provide new opportunities for examining professional avalanche risk management practices and developing meaningful decision aids.
Joana Gouveia Freire and Carlos Castro DaCamara
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 169–179,Short summary
Cellular automata are useful tools to simulate wildfire propagation. We design a cellular automaton to simulate a severe wildfire that took place in Portugal in 2012 and resulted in almost 25 000 ha burned. The explosive stage is adequately modeled when refining the role played by the wind in fire spreading. Results show a probability of ignition out of the limits of the observed scar, information that may help choose where to allocate resources for firefighting.
Yves Bühler, Daniel von Rickenbach, Andreas Stoffel, Stefan Margreth, Lukas Stoffel, and Marc Christen
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 3235–3251,Short summary
Coping with avalanche hazard has a long tradition in alpine countries. Hazard mapping has proven to be one of the most effective methods. In this paper we develop a new approach to automatically delineate avalanche release areas and connect them to state-of-the-art numerical avalanche simulations. This enables computer-based hazard indication mapping over large areas such as entire countries. This is of particular interest where hazard maps do not yet exist, such as in developing countries.
Andrin Caviezel and Werner Gerber
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 3145–3151,Short summary
Anticipating the flight path of a bouncing object holds fascination for playing children and scientists alike. While the path of a ball can be judged easily, the erratic rebound behavior of complexly shaped forms are intriguing. Here, we focus on the timescales and rotation changes during real rock–ground impacts while traveling down a slope. Specialized sensors inside the rock track those changes and reveal contact times in the millisecond range defining the overall flight path behavior.
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 3153–3166,Short summary
The growing oil sands operations in Canada's wildlands on the one hand and an anticipated increase in the frequency of wildfires, due to global warming, on the other hand can jeopardize the safety and integrity of oil sands facilities. The present study aims to develop a methodology, based on the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System and quantitative risk assessment techniques, for assessing the impact of wildfires on wildland–industrial interfaces with an emphasis on oil sands facilities.
Frank Techel, Christoph Mitterer, Elisabetta Ceaglio, Cécile Coléou, Samuel Morin, Francesca Rastelli, and Ross S. Purves
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2697–2716,Short summary
In 1993, the European Avalanche Warning Services agreed upon a common danger scale to describe the regional avalanche hazard: the European Avalanche Danger Scale. Using published avalanche forecasts, we explored whether forecasters use the scale consistently. We noted differences in the use of the danger levels, some of which could be linked to the size of the regions a regional danger level is issued for. We recommend further harmonizing the avalanche forecast products in the Alps.
Guillaume Evin, Thomas Curt, and Nicolas Eckert
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2641–2651,Short summary
Very large wildfires have high human, economic, and ecological impacts. Preventing such events is a major objective of the new fire policy set up in France in 1994, which is oriented towards fast and massive fire suppression. This study investigates the effect of this policy on the largest fires. We estimate the burned area corresponding to fires that occur every 5, 20, and 50 years on average (so-called return periods) in southern France.
Rune V. Engeset, Gerit Pfuhl, Markus Landrø, Andrea Mannberg, and Audun Hetland
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2537–2559,Short summary
The Norwegian Avalanche Warning Service was launched in 2013 to stop the increase in avalanche fatalities. We studied how efficiently warnings communicate the hazard on Varsom.no: which risk factors are difficult to assess and manage? Which elements in the warning are (not) important? Which elements are easily misunderstood? Which information/features are missing/ignored by users? We developed a communication effectiveness score for testing this using an online survey.
Alessandro La Rosa, Carolina Pagli, Giancarlo Molli, Francesco Casu, Claudio De Luca, Amerino Pieroni, and Giacomo D'Amato Avanzi
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2355–2366,Short summary
We use a multi-disciplinary dataset to show that the Prà di Lama sinkhole was created through several episodic events of unrest. We suggest that fluid circulation along an active fault zone, accompanied by localized seismic creep, control the growth of the Prà di Lama deep-sited sinkhole. Conversely, a connection between events of unrest and the largest earthquakes in northern Tuscany is not identified. This paper provides new insights into the evolution of sinkholes in active fault zones.
Sang-Soo Jeon, Young-Kon Park, and Ki-Young Eum
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2261–2271,Short summary
The number of occurrences of ground subsidence induced by a leakage of aged pipelines for water and sewage in urban areas resulting in various sizes of cavity near the urban railway in South Korea has increased and it may cause roadbed settlement to exceed the allowable value. In this study, a three-dimensional numerical analysis is carried out to estimate roadbed stability and its risk level associated with various groundwater levels and sizes of cavities in simulated ground conditions.
Dominique Cancellieri, Valérie Leroy-Cancellieri, Xavier Silvani, and Frédéric Morandini
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1957–1968,Short summary
The technology presented in this paper is based on a completely new approach wherein the development of a new field mass loss device combined with recent progress in the understanding of its behaviour achieves never before recorded data. It is the first time that the kinetics of decomposition of biomass have been validated under real wildland fire conditions, thus ensuring reliable characterisation of source terms.
Reinhard Fromm, Sonja Baumgärtner, Georg Leitinger, Erich Tasser, and Peter Höller
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1891–1903,Short summary
Snow gliding is a key factor for snow glide avalanche formation and soil erosion. This study considers atmospheric and snow variables, vegetation characteristics, and soil properties, and determines their relevance for snow gliding. The soil moisture, the soil temperature, the liquid water content of snow, the phytomass of mosses, and the friction coefficient have major influence. However, further investigations may be focused on the freezing and melting processes in the uppermost soil layers.
Chun Zhu, Dongsheng Wang, Xing Xia, Zhigang Tao, Manchao He, and Chen Cao
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1811–1823,Short summary
Gravel cushions are widely used for rockfall prevention in open-pit mines to absorb energy; the energy-consumption and buffer mechanism of different thicknesses and particle sizes of gravel cushions under the impact effects are studied. A series of laboratory tests for different cushions are conducted, combining the blocks' volume and drop height. It provides a theoretical and practical basis for the wide application of cushion design to control rockfall.
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Wildfires result in billions of dollars of losses each year. Most wildfire predictions have a 10 d lead-time. This study introduces a framework for a 1-month lead-time prediction of wildfires based on vapor pressure deficit and surface soil moisture in the US. The results show that the model can successfully predict burned area with relatively small margins of error. This is especially important for operational wildfire management such as national resource allocation.
Wildfires result in billions of dollars of losses each year. Most wildfire predictions have a...