9/13/2023: Modeling firefighting improves wildfire predictions

Wildfire-scarred landscapes smolder in British Columbia. Credit: Kerry Rawlinson/Unsplash

AGU News

AGU journalism awards go to Julia Rosen and Nicola Jones
AGU honors journalists Julia Rosen and Nicola Jones with the 2023 Journalism Awards. Rosen was awarded the Sullivan Award for her Hakai Magazine feature on crabbing and ocean deoxygenation, and Jones was awarded the Perlman Award for her Nature news story on how fossil fuel emissions are tampering with carbon dating. Congratulations! [full announcement]

Featured research

Modeling firefighting improves wildfire predictions
Wildfires can be hard to contain and even harder to predict, but a new study finds that including fire containment lines and maps on fuel moisture and density in predictive models can improve accuracy. With this data enhancing short-term predictions, firefighters and researchers are improving safety. [JGR Atmospheres research]

Paint the town… white? Higher albedo cools surrounding areas
Increasing a region’s albedo, or the amount of sunlight a surface reflects into space, does more than reduce local temperatures. Higher albedo can lead to more rainfall, which can cool surrounding areas as well. [Geophysical Research Letters research]

Geologic mapping of enigmatic continent Zealandia now complete
Zealandia is an ancient continent fragment that today sits mostly underwater. Scientists have now completed geologic mapping of the continent, providing new insights into the region’s geologic history. [Tectonics research]  

Flooded soil is bad at absorbing carbon dioxide
Flooding can decrease a soil’s capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, as a new study of the devastating 2019 floods in the U.S. Midwest reveals. With floods becoming more common due to climate change, further study is needed to understand potential threats to this critical carbon sink, the researchers say. [JGR Atmospheres research]

After midnight in the upper atmosphere
High in the atmosphere, narrow bands of hot plasma called subauroral ion drifts can interrupt radar signals. A new study of drift occurrences reveals that uncommon, after-midnight plasma flows appear to be triggered by the same mechanism that drives more frequently observed evening flows.
[JGR Space Physics research][Eos research spotlight]

Optimizing carbonate classification on Mars
Combining data from several of the Perseverance rover’s spectroscopic sensors offers a more accurate means to classify carbonate minerals, which may hold hints of ancient life. [Earth and Space Science research][Eos research spotlight]

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