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Climate-induced variations in global wildfire danger from 1979 to 2013

Author(s): William Matt Jolly, Mark A. Cochrane, Patrick H. Freeborn, Zachary A. Holden, Timothy J. Brown, Grant J. Williamson, David M. J. S. Bowman
Year Published: 2015
Description:

Climate strongly influences global wildfire activity, and recent wildfire surges may signal fire weather-induced pyrogeographic shifts. Here we use three daily global climate data sets and three fire danger indices to develop a simple annual metric of fire weather season length, and map spatio-temporal trends from 1979 to 2013. We show that fire weather seasons have lengthened across 29.6 million km2 (25.3%) of the Earth’s vegetated surface, resulting in an 18.7% increase in global mean fire weather season length. We also show a doubling (108.1% increase) of global burnable area affected by long fire weather seasons (>1.0 σ above the historical mean) and an increased global frequency of long fire weather seasons across 62.4 million km2 (53.4%) during the second half of the study period. If these fire weather changes are coupled with ignition sources and available fuel, they could markedly impact global ecosystems, societies, economies and climate.

Citation: Jolly, W. Matt; Cochrane, Mark A.; Freeborn, Patrick H.; Holden, Zachary A.; Brown, Timothy J.; Williamson, Grant J.; Bowman, David M. J. S. 2015. Climate-induced variations in global wildfire danger from 1979 to 2013. Nature Communications 6:7537.
Topic(s): Fire & Climate
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 15777
FRAMES RCS number: 20419
TTRS (Tall Timbers Research Station) Number: 31874
Record updated: Nov 22, 2017