Including wildfires in a landscape evolution model

1.0 hrs
Run online
     Jupyter logo.png

    Kevin Pierce at University of British Columbia.
    Laurent Roberge at Tulane University.
    Nishani Moragoda at University of Alabama.

This lab is appropriate for advanced undergraduates and graduate students majoring in earth science/engineering.

We will use Landlab to generate a grid, use two different landscape evolution models (LEMs) to evolve a synthetic landscape, apply stochastic wildfires that increase erodibility, and plot various maps and graphs. Though no real-world data are used, the landscape relief is statistically realistic and roughly approximate to the Wasatch mountains in Utah.

Classroom organization
This Jupyter Notebook is best for people who already have a conceptual understanding of earth surface processes and want to learn how these apply to numerical modeling, landscape evolution, and sediment flux. Although no Python skills are required to run the notebook, those with an intermediate understanding of Python will be able to learn more by reading the code.

This lab can be run on the CSDMS JupyterHub. (Follow the instructions here to create an account if you don't already have one: Run the Jupyter Notebook by clicking the "start" link under the Run online heading at the top of this page.

If you have questions, please contact us through the CSDMS Help Desk:

Learning objectives
  • Use Landlab to generate a grid
  • Use Fastscape and SPACE for landscape evolution
  • Create plots
Key concepts
  • Landscape evolution
  • Stream Power equation
  • Wildfires
  • Sediment flux

Lab notes
You can run the Jupyter Notebook by clicking "start" under "Run online" at the top of this page. Alternatively, the lab can be downloaded using the "download" link at the top of the page.

This lab was created during CSDMS's ESPIn 2021 summer workshop. Thank you to everyone involved in organizing and teaching ESPIn.

  • Braun, J., Willett, S. (2013). A very efficient O(n), implicit and parallel method to solve the stream power equation governing fluvial incision and landscape evolution. Geomorphology 180-181(C), 170-179.
  • Shobe, C. M., Tucker, G. E., and Barnhart, K. R.: The SPACE 1.0 model: a Landlab component for 2-D calculation of sediment transport, bedrock erosion, and landscape evolution, Geosci. Model Dev., 10, 4577–4604,, 2017.