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Publication Date
24 July 2023

Projection of Future Fire Emissions Over the Contiguous US Using Explainable Artificial Intelligence and CMIP6 Models



Increasing temperature and water cycle changes due to warming climate may increase the frequency and intensity of wildfires. Fire emission projections are useful for informing strategies for adaptation and mitigation of fire impacts on societies and ecosystems. Here, we construct a neural network (NN) model explained by the Shapley Additive explanation to predict fire PM2.5 emissions change and understand their drivers over the contiguous US (CONUS) in the mid‐21st century under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario (SSP5‐8.5). Using future meteorology and leaf area index (LAI) simulated by eight global climate models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6, future population density, and present‐day land use and land cover (LULC) as input to the NN model, the total fire PM2.5 emissions over CONUS are projected to increase by 4%–75% (model spread). Among different regions, fire emissions in the western US are projected to increase more significantly in June‐July‐August than in other seasons and regions, with the median ratios of future to present‐day fire emissions ranging from 1.67 to 2.86. The increases in fire emissions are mainly driven by increasing normalized temperature (23%–29%) and decreasing soil moisture (2%–10%) in the future. When future LULC change is considered, the projected fire emissions further increase by 58%–83% over the western US compared to projections without LULC change because of future increases in vegetation fraction. The results highlight the important role of warmer temperature, decreasing soil moisture, and LULC change in increasing fire emissions in the future.

Wang, Sally S.‐C., L. Ruby Leung, and Yun Qian. 2023. “Projection Of Future Fire Emissions Over The Contiguous Us Using Explainable Artificial Intelligence And Cmip6 Models”. Journal Of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 128 (14). American Geophysical Union (AGU). doi:10.1029/2023jd039154.
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