Risk Analysis

Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Wildfire Exposure in Mediterranean Areas

Journal Article

  • Author(s): Olga M. Lozano, Michele Salis, Alan A. Ager, Bachisio Arca, Fermin J. Alcasena, Antonio T. Monteiro, Mark A. Finney, Liliana Del Giudice, Enrico Scoccimarro, Donatella Spano
  • Article first published online: 20 Dec 2016
  • DOI: 10.1111/risa.12739
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Abstract

We used simulation modeling to assess potential climate change impacts on wildfire exposure in Italy and Corsica (France). Weather data were obtained from a regional climate model for the period 1981–2070 using the IPCC A1B emissions scenario. Wildfire simulations were performed with the minimum travel time fire spread algorithm using predicted fuel moisture, wind speed, and wind direction to simulate expected changes in weather for three climatic periods (1981–2010, 2011–2040, and 2041–2070). Overall, the wildfire simulations showed very slight changes in flame length, while other outputs such as burn probability and fire size increased significantly in the second future period (2041–2070), especially in the southern portion of the study area. The projected changes fuel moisture could result in a lengthening of the fire season for the entire study area. This work represents the first application in Europe of a methodology based on high resolution (250 m) landscape wildfire modeling to assess potential impacts of climate changes on wildfire exposure at a national scale. The findings can provide information and support in wildfire management planning and fire risk mitigation activities.

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