Olivia Aftergood | ALES Graduate Seminar

Date(s) - 27/11/2020
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Event details:  A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.

This is an ALES MSc Final Exam Seminar by Olivia Aftergood.  This seminar is open to the general public to attend via Zoom (link below).

Thesis Topic: Identifying and analyzing spatial and temporal patterns of lightning-ignited wildfires in Western Canada from 1981-2018

Seminar Abstract: 

This study looks to characterize the spatial and temporal patterns of lightning-ignited wildfires in Western Canada from 1981 to 2018. Quantifying the patterns of lightning fires over space and time provide great insight into the mechanisms that shape these distributions. This is of great importance as climate change is predicted to affect these arrangements which in turn could have serious implications on communities, forests and fire managers. To assess distribution patterns over space and time, the nearest neighbors, K-function, Mann-Kendall and the Getis-ord Gi* statistics were employed. All lightning attributed wildfires recorded within Western Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories) in the Canadian National Fire Database were used in this analysis, where statistics were performed in R and ArcGIS. Results suggest that lightning-ignited wildfires are spatially clustering on the Western Canadian landscape up to 250 km with an observed overall non-significant decreasing trend seen for NOF (number of fires). Moreover, hotspot areas, where lightning fires are showing a trend increase and or are clustering spatially over the 37-year period, are displayed in GIS. Although determining factors that cause the reoccurrence of spatial and temporal clustering are widely speculated, a result of climate and vegetation could be the main influences of these patterns, however, further research needs to be undertaken. Wildfires are becoming a force to be reckoned with in an earth influenced by anthropogenic climate change. Ecological disasters are on the rise, communities are being destroyed, and costly disasters bills are increasing. Understanding lightning fires and their distributions within space and time is crucial in quantifying their extents on a landscape and how this interaction is being altered. Further research needs to be undertaken to better understand these mechanisms so fire managers can be better equipped in dealing with wildfires in a changing climate.

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Meeting ID: 999 5945 2821
Passcode: 273594
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