Timescale: Oct. 2021 – Sept. 2024
Dr. Kirsten Thonicke, PIK Potsdam
Prof. Henning Rust, FU Berlin
Recent wildfire events (e.g. Greece 2007, 2018, Portugal 2017, and California 2018) have shown that wind and topography are important contributing factors that can change a wildfire occurring during a climate extreme event to a fire extreme, thus hazard. Wildfire risk is increased during prolonged or extreme drought which desiccates vegetation and dead biomass which then form dry fuel conditions that strongly influences wildfire behaviour. Fire spread increase with wind speed and in mountainous areas. However, recent fire extreme events have shown that extremely high wind speeds accelerated fire spread in mountainous areas that has led to severe impact in forest ecosystems and caused high number of casualties. Vegetation structure, especially dense forests with often high fuel loading, and wildland-urban interfaces contributed to the increased hazard from this extreme event. However, current process-based vegetation-fire models such as SPITFIRE embedded in LPJmL4.0 (Thonicke et al. 2010; Schaphoff et al. 2018), do not consider extreme wind conditions and ignore topographic conditions for fire spread so far, which is important if we want to understand the occurrence and impact of such extreme fire events under future climate change. Since drought conditions are predicted to increase for the Mediterranean area, vegetation growth can become increasingly limited in the future, which would limit fire spread due to limited fuel availability. Thus process-based modelling of vegetation-fire interactions is an important pre-requisite to improve the quantification of future fire hazard.
The project Q12 comprises the following tasks:
The following results are expected:
Dedicated Regional Clusters: Central Europe and the Mediterranean region