Project properties

Title Mobilization of wildfire ash by wind and water erosion
Group Soil Physics and Land Management group
Project type thesis
Credits 24-39
Supervisor(s) Jantiene Baartman
Examiner(s) Coen Ritsema
Contact info
Begin date 2020/02/03
End date
Description Immediately after a wildfire, burnt landscapes are typically black due to the widespread deposition of an ash layer and, with time-since-fire, then loose again this blackness because of the disappearance of this ash layer and/or greening by recovering vegetation. Even though this phenomenon of fading blackness has been widely recognized for a long time, the mechanisms behind the disappearance of the wildfire ash layer with time-since-fire are still poorly understood. The ASHMOB project, funded by the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology, is addressing this research gap, in particular by looking into the lateral movement of wildfire ash by wind and water erosion. So far, ASHMOB has been quantifying the loads of wildfire ash in forest areas in central Portugal burnt during the summers of 2018 and 2019, has been studying wind erosion of wildfire ash through experiments in a wind tunnel, and is now starting to study ash erosion by rain splash, sheet and rill erosion through experiments in a hydraulic laboratory. The results of these experiments will then be used to test and, if needed, adjust existing wind and water erosion models, while these models will then be tested under field conditions in a area to burn during the summer of 2020.

Interested students would be most welcome to participate in various aspects of ASHMOB, also depending on the timing of their stay in Portugal. More specifically, students could help to quantify wildfire ash mobilization by wind erosion (in the field) as well as by water erosion (in the laboratory and/or field), and to test existing water erosion models using laboratory and/or field data, in particular LISEM.
Used skills