Sep 12, 2009

The impact of spatial resolution on area burned and fire occurrence projections in Portugal under climate change

Anabela Carvalho, Mike D. Flannigan, Kim A. Logan, Lynn M. Gowman, Ana Isabel Miranda, Carlos Borrego
Climatic Change
  • States Europe has recently seen a large number of forest fires causing enormous losses in terms of human life and environmental damages. Most of the fires take place in the Mediterranean region, which suffers over 95% of the forest fire damage
  • States that in Portugal, weather and fuel moisture (particularly the fine surface fuel moisture) has been found to be most closely related to area burned, whereas fire ignitions are primarily human-caused
  • States that in Portugal, the annual average area burned in the last 6 years (2000 to 2005) was 107% higher than the 1990s, which was already 40% higher than the 1980s
  • Investigates the impact of future climate change on fire activity in 12 districts across Portugal
  • Predicts future area burned will increase 478% for Portugal as a whole, which equates to an increase from 1.4% to 7.8% of the available burnable area burning annually
  • Finds that fire occurrence will also see a dramatic increase (279%) for all of Portugal

Area burned (% of forested area) and number of fires for Portugal in 1980–2005.