Climate Warming Leads to Increased Forest Burn Area and Deep Forest Penetration in Amazon


Lin Meng1* ([email protected]), Jeffrey Chambers2, Charles Koven2, Gilberto Pastorello3, Paulo Brando4, Marcos Longo2, Luiz Aragão5, Jacquelyn Shuman6, Robinson Negron-Juarez2, Bruno Gimenez7, Aline Pontes-Lopes5, Barbara Bomfim2, Alessandro Araujo8


1Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN; 2Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA; 3Scientific Data Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA; 4Department of Earth System Science, University of California–Irvine, CA; 5Earth Observation and Geoinformatics Division, National Institute for Space Research, São José dos Campos, Brazil; 6Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO; 7National Institute of Amazonian Research, Manaus, Brazil; 8Embrapa Amazônia Oriental, Belém, Pará, Brazil



Amazonian fires have become more frequent and widespread under climate change, exerting a profound impact on society and ecosystems. In addition, edge effect promotes canopy loss and facilitates anthropogenic fires to escape into the forests, intensifying carbon losses. However, it is unclear how increases in extreme climate and forest edge area affects fire occurrence and spread. This study investigated the influence of land surface temperature (LST) on burn areas of evergreen forest across the Amazon basin from 2000 to 2020. The burn area of evergreen forest increased exponentially with the increase in LST from July to October. The forest edge was warmer and often had more burn areas than forest far from the edge (>8 km). Higher LST (>36 °C) is strongly correlated with more burn areas and deeper forest penetration distance from the edge. These findings indicate forest degradation leads to higher vulnerability at forest edges under a warmer and drier climate in the Amazon.