Impact of climate variability on summer fires in a Mediterranean environment (northeastern Iberian Peninsula)

Abstract

We analyse the impact of climate interannual variability on summer forest fires in Catalonia (northeastern Iberian Peninsula). The study period covers 25 years, from 1983 to 2007. During this period more than 16000 fire events were recorded and the total burned area was more than 240 kha, i.e. around 7.5% of whole Catalonia. We show that the interannual variability of summer fires is significantly correlated with summer precipitation and summer maximum temperature. In addition, fires are significantly related to antecedent climate conditions, showing positive correlation with lagged precipitation and negative correlation with lagged temperatures, both with a time lag of two years, and negative correlation with the minimum temperature in the spring of the same year. The interaction between antecedent climate conditions and fire variability highlights the importance of climate not only in regulating fuel flammability, but also fuel structure. On the basis of these results, we discuss a simple regression model that explains up to 76% of the variance of the Burned Area and up to 91% of the variance of the number of fires. This simple regression model produces reliable out-of-sample predictions of the impact of climate variability on summer forest fires and it could be used to estimate fire response to different climate change scenarios, assuming that climate-vegetation-humans-fire interactions will not change significantly.

Marco Turco, Maria Carmen Llasat, Jost von Hardenberg and Antonello Provenzale

Radar Meteorology associate professorship

The University of Helsinki is a multidisciplinary research university which ranks among the leading universities in the world. Some 36,500 students are currently pursuing an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at the University, which employs a staff of 8,500. The University’s current annual budget is EUR 600 million.
The University of Helsinki has introduced a TENURE TRACK for teaching and research personnel, intended to increase the predictability, competitiveness and attractiveness of academic careers while promoting internationalisation at the University. Leer más de esta entrada

Post-Doctoral Position in Surface Water Hydrology, Hydro-Climatology, and Climate Change Impacts

A postdoctoral or more senior research position in surface water hydrology, hydro-climatology, and climate change impacts is available in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  The selected researcher will join an active group of faculty, post-docs and graduate students engaged in research projects funded by NOAA, the Department of Interior, and the Nature Conservancy.  The researcher will be the lead in the development of surface water hydrology models, using fully distributed models such as DHSVM and VIC, and will contribute to the evaluation of climate change impacts in the Northeastern US and Leer más de esta entrada