Fire Phenomena and the Earth System An Interdisciplinary Guide to Fire Science

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-05-28
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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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.

Readership: Advanced students and researchers across a wide range of earth, environmental and life sciences, including biogeochemistry, paleoclimatology, atmospheric science, palaeontology and paleoecology, combustion science, ecology and forestry.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

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


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