The QUAVIDA synergy: quaternary fire, vegetation and climate change in Australasia

Rowe, Cassandra, Fraser, Rebecca, Harrison, Sandy, and Dodson, John (2007) The QUAVIDA synergy: quaternary fire, vegetation and climate change in Australasia. Quaternary International, 167-168 (Suppl.). 0489. p. 355.

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QUAVIDA is a new project which aims to understand the interactions among vegetation structure and function, climate and fire regimes during the Late Quaternary. The project targets Australasia as a critical area in the development of a global picture of environmental change. Australasia has experienced major wet/dry, temperature and atmospheric CO2 fluctuations in the past; human arrival and occupation have also had a substantial environmental influence. Much of the vegetation within the region is fire-prone (and fire-adapted), with fire management long and widely practised. We need to understand the natural climate variability, disentangle the role of humans in past changes and investigate how plant types, vegetation and fire regimes will respond to future climate changes. QUAVIDA will do this by using state-of-the-art earth system models in hypothesis-testing mode, running simulations for specific times in the past but with different model components operative and using different scenarios of external and internal forcing. In order to evaluate and interpret these simulations, comprehensive data sets describing palaeoenvironmental conditions at key times in the past will be required. Thus, the first major focus of activity within QUAVIDA has been the creation of a comprehensive database of palaeoenvironmental information from Australasia, covering the last 70,000 years. The database contains radiometrically-dated pollen, phytolith, plant macrofossil, stickrat midden, carbon isotope and charcoal records. Interrogation of this database will yield benchmark reconstructions of vegetation patterns and fire regimes for the evaluation of the model simulations. Using more than one source of palaeoenvironmental information allows differences in the temporal and spatial scale of different kinds of observations to be taken into account in making reconstructions. It also allows for the fact that different sources record different aspects of climate and/or environmental changes. This presentation will introduce QUAVIDA, the methods and preliminary results of the palaeo-data synthesis, and discuss the project’s contribution to the international earth-modelling community.

Item ID: 37178
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1873-4553
Keywords: Australasia, Quaternary, earth-system model, fire, vegetation
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Abstracts from the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) 2007.

Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2016 22:32
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060206 Palaeoecology @ 40%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040606 Quaternary Environments @ 40%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040605 Palaeoclimatology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 60%
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