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Effects of Climatic Warming and Wildfires on Recent Vegetation Changes in the Lake Baikal Basin.
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<25 p.>
The vegetation changes in the area of the Russian part of the Lake Baikal water basin for the period 2010–2018 were investigated using MCD12C1 land cover. The decline in swamp systems area began in 2012 and continued until 2015, after which it partially recovered during the heavy rain season in 2018. During the period of 2010–2018, the area covered by forests did not exceed 20.3% of the Baikal basin of the total portion of the Baikal basin under study. Deforestation began in 2013 and continued until 2017. Over 2013–2018, the forest level decreased by 12.1% compared to the forest state in 2013. The analysis of summer rainfalls and aridity indexes was performed by using CRU TS and GPCC climatic datasets. It is shown that the interannual variations of precipitation and aridity changes are determined by the variability of the global circulation of moist air masses. The MCD64A1 (burned area) and MCD14ML (active fires) MODIS products were used for investigation of the influence of wildfires on vegetation changes. The spatial hotspot distributions and burned areas in general correspond to aridity zones, but they cannot explain the 20-fold increase in the number of wildfires. Most of the hotspot locations are away from settlements, roads, and loggings, in difficult-to-access mountainous areas, as well as in the low-inhabited areas of Siberia. We assume that the nature of such ignitions includes dry thunderstorms, pyrocumulus lightning, or remote impact.
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