Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is the primary mode of atmospheric variability in the Southern Hemisphere. While it is well established that the current anthropogenic?driven trend in SAM is responsible for decreased rainfall in southern Australia, its role in driving fire regimes in this region has not been explored. We examined the connection between fire activity and SAM in southwest Tasmania, which lies in the latitudinal band of strongest correlation between SAM and rainfall in the Southern Hemisphere. We reveal that fire activity during a fire season is significantly correlated with the phase of SAM in the preceding year using superposed epoch analysis. We then synthesized new 14 charcoal records from southwest Tasmania spanning the last 1000?years, revealing a tight coupling between fire activity and SAM at centennial timescales, observing a multicentury increase in fire activity over the last 500?years and a spike in fire activity in the 21st century in response to natural and anthropogenic SAM trends.
Mariani, M., & Fletcher, M. (2016). The Southern Annular Mode determines inter-annual and centennial-scale fire activity in temperate southwest Tasmania, Australia. Geophysical Research Letters, 43(4), 1702-1709. doi:10.1002/2016GL068082