Transcripts of G2011-111_Randerson_Feature_youtube_hq

[ Music ] So the approach that we took was to look carefully at sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and in the Pacific and to relate those to patterns of fires observed by NASA satellites over the last decade. And what we found was that sea surface temperatures in the Pacific and in the Atlantic provide an early warning of the intensity or severity of the fire season in many important fire regions in South America. Specifically, during years where sea surface temperatures were warmer, we found greater rates of fire activity about six months later during the peak fire season. So for example in 2005, 2007 and 2010, these were years where the Pacific and the North Atlantic were anomalously warm and approximately six months later, across the southern Amazon, there was both greater number of fires and there was more emissions. Our empirical model that we developed actually enables for predictions of fire activity with about a four-to-six month lead-time in many important fire regions in South America. This is important because fires in South America contribute to forest degradation and carbon losses that contribute to the buildup of greenhouse gases and to climate change. If we can identify in advance four months or six months whether the fire season is likely to be severe, then it may allow for us to plan better, to manage resources, to fight fires and limit the damage caused by fires.