Document Detail

Increased wind erosion from forest wildfire: implications for contaminant-related risks.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16455847     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Assessments of contaminant-related human and ecological risk require estimation of transport rates, but few data exist on wind-driven transport rates in nonagricultural systems, particularly in response to ecosystem disturbances such as forest wildfire and also relative to water-driven transport. The Cerro Grande wildfire in May of 2000 burned across ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex P.&C. Lawson var. scopulorum Englem.) forest within Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico, where contaminant transport and associated post-fire inhalation risks are of concern. In response, the objectives of this study were to measure and compare wind-driven horizontal and vertical dust fluxes, metrics of transport related to wind erosion, for 3 yr for sites differentially affected by the Cerro Grande wildfire: unburned, moderately burned (fire mostly confined to ground vegetation), and severely burned (crown fire). Wind-driven dust flux was significantly greater in both types of burned areas relative to unburned areas, by more than one order of magnitude initially and by two to three times 1 yr after the fire. Unexpectedly, the elevated dust fluxes did not decrease during the second and third years in burned areas, apparently because ongoing drought delayed post-fire recovery. Our estimates enable assessment of amplification in contaminant-related risks following a major type of disturbance-wildfire, which is expected to increase in intensity and frequency due to climate change. More generally, our results highlight the importance of considering wind- as well as water-driven transport and erosion, particularly following disturbance, for ecosystem biogeochemistry in general and human and ecological risk assessment in particular.
Jeffrey J Whicker; John E Pinder; David D Breshears
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2006-02-02
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of environmental quality     Volume:  35     ISSN:  0047-2425     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Environ. Qual.     Publication Date:    2006 Mar-Apr
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-02-03     Completed Date:  2006-09-01     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0330666     Medline TA:  J Environ Qual     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  468-78     Citation Subset:  IM    
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Health Physics Measurements Group, Mail Stop J573, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Air Pollutants / analysis
Dust / analysis*
Environmental Monitoring
New Mexico
Pinus ponderosa
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Air Pollutants; 0/Dust

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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