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Meteorological Conditions Associated with Large Fires in the Canadian Boreal Forest
11:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Tue Nov 28, 2017
Sabal A


Authors: Mike D Flannigan; B Mike Wotton; Ginny A Marshall

Wildland fires are a frequent occurrence in many regions of the world. These fires are the result of interactions between climate/weather, fuels, and people. Our climate and associated day-to-day weather may be changing rapidly due to human activities that may have dramatic and unexpected impacts on regional and global fire activity. A warmer world means a longer fire season, more lightning activity, and most importantly drier fuels. Existing studies suggest regional increases in fire occurrence and area burned although there is significant temporal and spatial variability. However, future trends in fire severity and intensity are more difficult to predict. In this study we examine future wildland fire intensity as well as carbon emissions from wildland fires in Canada. We use 3 GCMs and 3 RCP scenarios to estimate potential fire intensity, fuel consumption (surface and crown) and the number of significant spread days throughout the Canadian boreal forest. We find that potential fuel consumption increases more than 25% in the most extreme scenarios for the majority of the boreal by the end of the century. Similarly, we observe an absolute increase in the number of days that could support significant fire spread, by up to 50 days per year.

Mike Flannigan
Professor, University of Alberta

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