Projected changes in forest fire season, number of fires and burnt area in Fennoscandia by 2100

Kinnunen, Outi; Backamn, Leif; Aalto, Juha; Aalto, Tuula; Markkanen, Tiina

Forest fire dynamics are expected to alter due to climate change. Despite the projected increase in precipitation, rising temperatures will amplify forest fire risk from the present to the end of the century. Here, we analysed the changes in fire season, number of fires and burnt area in Fennoscandia from 1951 to 2100. The JSBACH-SPITFIRE ecosystem model regional simulations were done under two climate change forcing scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5) and three global climate driver models (CanESM2, CNRM-CM5 and MIROC5) with a 0.5° resolution. Simulations were forced by downscaled and bias-corrected EURO-CORDEX data. Generally, as a consequence of the projected longer fire season and drier fuel, the probability of fires is projected to increase. However, changes in fire season, number of fires and burnt area are very dependent on the climate projection and location; the fire season is estimated to increase by (20–52) days on average, starting (10–23) days earlier and ending (10–30) days later, from the reference period (1981–2010) to the end of the century (2071–2100). The results for Finland indicate a (−7–98) % change in the number of fires and a (−19–87) % change in the burnt area. These findings contribute to a better understanding of potential changes in the future fire seasons in Northern Europe.

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Kinnunen, Outi / Backamn, Leif / Aalto, Juha / et al: Projected changes in forest fire season, number of fires and burnt area in Fennoscandia by 2100. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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