Corona-Nunez, RO; Li, FJ; Campo, JE (2020). Fires Represent an Important Source of Carbon Emissions in Mexico. GLOBAL BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES, 34(12), e2020GB006815.

Biomass burning, including fires, has been identified as the largest source of primary fine carbonaceous particles in the troposphere and one of the major drivers of global carbon (C) cycle, cloud properties, and climate. Most of the global C emissions happen in the Pantropic region. Modeling estimates suggest an increase in Mexican fire frequencies, intensity, and C emission to the atmosphere. However, no study has combined field and satellite data to estimate C emissions by fires for any tropical country. Here, we present an approach to estimate the spatiotemporal variability of fires and its total C emissions in Mexico with the associated climate that combines national fire inventories with remote sensing. We provide evidence that tropical ecosystems, particularly tropical forests at Yucatan Peninsula, Pacific Coast, and Gulf of Mexico, provide the largest C emissions with high fire densities. We found evidence to contrast the relationships of the interannual and intra-annual variability of C emissions with immediate and lagged climate effects such as El Nino and La Nina events. Data also indicate that C emissions from fires are up to 11 times higher than those from deforestation and account 19% of the total National CO2 emissions and 5% of the total Pantropical C emissions. Because fires are related to climate change, we encourage future studies to focus on climate fire feedbacks for implementing adequate climate mitigation strategies.