New research points out that climate change will increase fire activity in Mediterranean Europe
New research points out that climate change will increase fire activity in Mediterranean Europe.
A recent study published in Scientific Reports, led by researchers of the University of Barcelona in collaboration with several other research institutions, shows that the direct effect of climate change in regulating fuel moisture (droughts leading to larger fires) is expected to be dominant, regarding the indirect effect of antecedent climate on fuel load and structure -that is, warmer/drier conditions that determine fuel availability.
For instance, the direct effect of climate change in regulating fuel moisture could be counterbalanced by the indirect effects on fuel structure.
In addition, the drought-fire relationship is stronger in northern regions," says Marco Turco, researcher at the Meteorological Hazard Analysis Group (GAMA) of UB, led by Professor M. del Carme Llasat.
Thus, in the forthcoming decades, and especially in northern Mediterranean regions, the direct effect of climate change is expected to be more dominant, regarding the indirect effect of the previous climate.
In the past few decades, the measured trend of the burned area in Mediterranean Europe has been generally negative, while drought conditions have been increasing.
However, keeping fire management actions at the current level might not be enough to balance a future increase in droughts.
Finally, the ability to model the link between drought and forest fires is crucial to identify key actions in adaptation strategies.
Also, according to the researchers, seasonal climate forecasts enable a more effective and dynamic adaptation to climate variability and change, offering an underexploited opportunity to reduce the fire impact of adverse climate conditions.
On the key role of droughts in the dynamics of summer fires in Mediterranean Europe.