Advertisement

Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 136, Issue 1–2, pp 513–527 | Cite as

Exploring the future change space for fire weather in southeast Australia

  • Hamish ClarkeEmail author
  • Jason P. Evans
Original Paper

Abstract

High-resolution projections of climate change impacts on fire weather conditions in southeast Australia out to 2080 are presented. Fire weather is represented by the McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI), calculated from an objectively designed regional climate model ensemble. Changes in annual cumulative FFDI vary widely, from − 337 (− 21%) to + 657 (+ 24%) in coastal areas and − 237 (− 12%) to + 1143 (+ 26%) in inland areas. A similar spread is projected in extreme FFDI values. In coastal regions, the number of prescribed burning days is projected to change from − 11 to + 10 in autumn and − 10 to + 3 in spring. Across the ensemble, the most significant increases in fire weather and decreases in prescribed burn windows are projected to take place in spring. Partial bias correction of FFDI leads to similar projections but with a greater spread, particularly in extreme values. The partially bias-corrected FFDI performs similarly to uncorrected FFDI compared to the observed annual cumulative FFDI (ensemble root mean square error spans 540 to 1583 for uncorrected output and 695 to 1398 for corrected) but is generally worse for FFDI values above 50. This emphasizes the need to consider inter-variable relationships when bias-correcting for complex phenomena such as fire weather. There is considerable uncertainty in the future trajectory of fire weather in southeast Australia, including the potential for less prescribed burning days and substantially greater fire danger in spring. Selecting climate models on the basis of multiple criteria can lead to more informative projections and allow an explicit exploration of uncertainty.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (CE110001028) and by the NCI National Facility at the Australian National University, Australia. Regional climate data have been provided by the New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory Regional Climate Model (NARCLiM) project funded by NSW Government Office of Environment and Heritage, University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre, ACT Government Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate and other project partners. Jason Evans was funded by the ARC Future Fellowship FT110100576 and by the Australian Federal Government through the National Environmental Science Programme.

Supplementary material

704_2018_2507_Fig10_ESM.gif (79 kb)
Fig. S1

(GIF 78 kb)

704_2018_2507_MOESM1_ESM.eps (412 kb)
High resolution image (EPS 411 kb)
704_2018_2507_MOESM2_ESM.docx (34 kb)
Table S1 (DOCX 33 kb)
704_2018_2507_MOESM3_ESM.docx (35 kb)
Table S2 (DOCX 34 kb)
704_2018_2507_MOESM4_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Table S3 (DOCX 21 kb)

References

  1. Abramowitz G (2010) Model independence in multi-model ensemble prediction. Aust Meteorol Oceanogr J 59:3–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Archibald S, Roy DP, van Wilgen BW, Scholes RJ (2009) What limits fire? An examination of drivers of burnt area in Southern Africa. Glob Chang Biol 15:613–630.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01754.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bala G, Krishna S, Narayanappa D, Cao L, Caldeira K, Nemani R (2013) An estimate of equilibrium sensitivity of global terrestrial carbon cycle using NCAR CCSM4. Clim Dyn 40:1671–1686.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-012-1495-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bedia J, Herrera S, Camia A, Moreno JM, Gutiérrez JM (2014) Forest fire danger projections in the mediterranean using ENSEMBLES regional climate change scenarios. Clim Chang 122:185–199.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-1005-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bedia J, Herrera S, Gutierrez J, Benali A, Brands S, Mota B, Moreno J (2015) Global patterns in the sensitivity of burned area to fire-weather: Implications for climate change. Agric For Meteorol 214–215:369–379Google Scholar
  6. Bishop CH, Abramowitz G (2013) Climate model dependence and the replicate earth paradigm. Clim Dyn 41:885–900.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-012-1610-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blanchi R, Lucas C, Leonard F, Finkele K (2010) Meteorological conditions and wildfire related house loss in Australia. Int J Wildland Fire 19:914–926.  https://doi.org/10.1071/WF08175 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blanchi R, Leonard J, Haynes K, Opie K, James M, de Oliveira FD (2014) Environmental circumstances surrounding bushfire fatalities in Australia 1901-2011. Environ Sci Policy 37:192–203.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2013.09.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boulanger Y, Gauthier S, Burton PJ (2014) A refinement of models projecting future Canadian fire regimes using homogeneous fire regime zones. Can J For Res 44:365–376.  https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2013-0372 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bradstock RA (2010) A biogeographic model of fire regimes in Australia: contemporary and future implications. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 19:145–158.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2009.00512.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bradstock RA, Cohn JS, Gill AM, Bedward M, Lucas C (2009) Prediction of the probability of large fires in the Sydney region of south-eastern Australia using fire weather. Int J Wildland Fire 18:932–943.  https://doi.org/10.1071/WF08133 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bradstock R, Penman T, Boer M, Price O, Clarke H (2014) Divergent responses of fire to recent warming and drying across south-eastern Australia. Glob Chang Biol 20:1214–1228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brown T, Mills G, Harris S, Podnar D, Reinbold H, Fearon M (2016) A bias corrected WRF mesoscale fire weather dataset for Victoria Australia 1972-2012. J South Hemisphere Earth Syst Sci 66:281–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cary GJ (2002) Importance of a changing climate for fire regimes in Australia. In: Bradstock RA, Williams JE, Gill AM (eds) Flammable Australia: the fire regimes and biodiversity of a continent. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  15. Christensen J, Carter T, Rummukainen M, Amanatidis G (2007) Evaluating the performance and utility of regional climate models: the PRUDENCE project. Clim Chang 81:1–6.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-006-9211-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Clarke HC, Smith PL, Pitman AJ (2011) Regional signatures of future fire weather over eastern Australia from global climate models. Int J Wildland Fire 20:550–562.  https://doi.org/10.1071/WF10070 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Clarke H, Lucas C, Smith P (2013a) Changes in Australian fire weather between 1973 and 2010. Int J Climatol 33:931–944.  https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.3480 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Clarke H, Evans JP, Pitman AJ (2013b) Fire weather simulation skill by the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model over south-east Australia from 1985 to 2009. Int J Wildland Fire 22:739–756.  https://doi.org/10.1071/WF12048 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Clarke H, Pitman AJ, Kala J, Carouge C, Haverd V, Evans JP (2016) An investigation of future fuel load and fire weather in Australia. Clim Chang 139:591–605.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1808-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Collins L, Bradstock RA, Resco de Dios V, Duursma RA, Velasco S, Boer MM (2017) Understorey productivity in temperate grassy woodland responds to soil water availability but not to elevated [CO2]. Glob Chang Biol.  https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14038
  21. CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology (2015) Climate change in Australia information for Australia’s natural resource management regions. Technical report. CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  22. Di Luca A, Evans JP, Pepler A, Alexander LV, Argueso D (2016) Evaluating the representation of Australian East Coast lows in a regional climate model ensemble. J South Hemisphere Earth Syst Sci 66:108–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ehret U, Zehe E, Wulfmeyer V, Warrach-Sagi K, Liebert J (2012) Should we apply bias correction to global and regional climate model data? Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 16:3391–3404.  https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-16-3391-2012. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Evans JP, McCabe MF (2010) Regional climate simulation over Australia’s Murray-Darling basin: a multi-temporal assessment. J Geophys Res 115:D14114.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2010JD013816 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Evans JP, McCabe MF (2013) Effect of model resolution on a regional climate model simulation over southeast Australia. Clim Res 56(2):131–145.  https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01151 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Evans JP, Ji F, Lee C, Smith P, Argueso D, Fita L (2014) Design of a regional climate modeling projection ensemble experiment—NARCliM. Geosci Model Dev 7:621–629.  https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-7-621-2014. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Evans JP, Argueso D, Olson R, Luca AD (2017) Bias-corrected regional climate projections of extreme rainfall in south-east Australia. Theor Appl Climatol 130:1085–1098.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-016-1949-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fita L, Evans JP, Argüeso D, King A, Liu Y (2017) Evaluation of the regional climate response in Australia to large-scale climate modes in the historical NARCliM simulations. Clim Dynamics 49:2815–2829.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-016-3484-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Flannigan MD, Krawchuk MA, De Groot WJ, Wotton BM, Gowman LM (2009) Implications of changing climate for global wildland fire. Int J Wildland Fire 18:483–507.  https://doi.org/10.1071/WF08187 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Forzieri G, Feyen L, Russo S, Vousdoukas M, Alfieri L, Outten S, Migliavacca M, Bianchi A, Rojas R, Cid A (2016) Multi-hazard assessment in Europe under climate change. Clim Chang 137:105–119.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1661-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fox-Hughes P, Harris RMB, Lee G, Grose MR, Bindoff NL (2014) Future fire danger climatology for Tasmania Australia using a dynamically downscaled regional climate model. Int J Wildland Fire 23:309–307.  https://doi.org/10.1071/WF13126 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Giorgi F, Jones C, Asrar GR (2009) Addressing climate information needs at the regional level: the CORDEX framework. WMO Bull 58:175–183Google Scholar
  33. Griffiths D (1999) Improved formula for the drought factor in McArthur’s Forest fire danger meter. Aust For 62:202–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Harris S, Mills G, Brown T (2017) Variability and drivers of extreme fire weather in fire-prone areas of south-eastern Australia. Int J Wildland Fire 26(3):177–190.  https://doi.org/10.1071/WF16118 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Haughton N, Abramowitz G, Pitman A (2015) Weighting climate model ensembles for mean and variance estimates. Clim Dyn 45(11–12):2297–2308.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-015-2531-3. Google Scholar
  36. Jones D, Wang W, Fawcett R (2009) High-quality spatial climate data-sets for Australia. Aust Meteorol Mag 58:233–248Google Scholar
  37. Keetch JJ, Byram GM (1968) A drought index for forest fire control. Research Paper SE-38. USDA Forest Service, AshvilleGoogle Scholar
  38. King KJ, Cary GJ, Gill AM, Moore AD (2012) Implications of changing climate and atmospheric CO2 for grassland fire in south-east Australia: insights using the GRAZPLAN grassland simulation model. Int J Wildland Fire 21:695–708.  https://doi.org/10.1071/WF11103 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lehtonen I, Venäläinen A, Kämäräinen M, Peltola H, Gregow H (2016) Risk of large-scale fires in boreal forests of Finland under changing climate. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 16:239–253.  https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-16-239-2016 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Litschert SE, Brown TC, Theobal DM (2012) Historic and future extent of wildfires in the southern Rockies ecoregion USA. For Ecol Manag 269:124–133.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2011.12.024 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lucas C (2010) On developing a historical fire weather data-set for Australia. Aust Meteorol Oceanogr J 60:1–14Google Scholar
  42. Luke R, McArthur A (1978) Bushfires in Australia. Australian Government Publishing Service, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  43. Mearns LO, Arritt R, Biner S, Bukovsky MS, McGinnis S, Sain S, Caya D, Correia J Jr, Flory D, Gutowski W, Takle ES, Jones R, Leung R, Moufouma-Okia W, McDaniel L, Nunes AMB, Qian Y, Roads J, Sloan L, Snyder M (2012) The north American regional climate change assessment program overview of phase I results. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 93:1337–1362.  https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00223.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Meehl GA, Covey C, Delworth T, Latif M, McAvaney B, Mitchell JF, Stouffer RJ, Taylor KE (2007) The WCRP CMIP3 multimodel dataset: a new era in climate change research. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 88:1383–1394.  https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-88-9-1383 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nakicenovic N, Alcamo J, Grubler A, Riahi K, Roehrl RA, Rogner H-H, Victor N (2000) Special report on emissions scenarios (SRES), a special report of working group III of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  46. Noble IR, Barry, GAV, Gill, AM (1980) McArthur’s fire danger meters expressed as equations. Aust J Ecol 5:201–203Google Scholar
  47. NSW Government (2014). Climate projections for your region. Retrieved 13 February 2017. http://climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au/Climate-projections-for-NSW/Climate-projections-for-your-region
  48. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (2012) Living with fire in NSW National Parks—a strategy for managing bushfires in national parks and reserves 2012–2021. Sydney, Office of Environment and HeritageGoogle Scholar
  49. Olson R, Fan Y, Evans JP (2016) A simple method for Bayesian model averaging of regional climate model projections: application to southeast Australian temperatures. Geophys Res Lett 43:7661–7669.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL069704 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Osborn TJ, HulmeM (1998) Evaluation of the european daily precipitation characteristics from the atmospheric model intercomparison project. Int J Climatol 18:505–522.  https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-0088(199804)18:5,505::AID-JOC263.3.0.CO;2-7
  51. Parks SA, Miller C, Abatzoglou JT, Holsinger LM, Parisien M-A, Dobrowski SZ (2016) How will climate change affect wildland fire severity in the western US? Environ Res Lett 11:035002.  https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/035002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Penman TD, Christie FJ, Andersen AN, Bradstock RA, Cary GJ, Henderson MK, Price O, Tran C, Wardle GM, Williams RJ, York A (2011) Prescribed burning: how can it work to conserve the things we value?. Int J Wildland Fire 20:721–733Google Scholar
  53. Piani C, Haerter J, Coppola E (2010) Statistical bias correction for daily precipitation in regional climate models over Europe. Theor Appl Climatol 99(1):187–192.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-009-0134-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Pitman AJ, Narisma GT, McAneney J (2007) The impact of climate change on the risk of forest and grassland fires in Australia. Clim Chang 84:383–401.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-007-9243-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Plucinski MP (2012) Factors affecting containment area and time of Australian forest fires featuring aerial suppression. For Sci 58:390–398.  https://doi.org/10.5849/FORSCI.10-096
  56. Price OF, Penman TD, Bradstock RA, Boer MM, Clarke H (2015) Biogeographical variation in the potential effectiveness of prescribed fire in south-eastern Australia. J Biogeogr 42:2234–2245.  https://doi.org/10.1111/JBI.12579
  57. Sanderson BM, Knutti R, Caldwell PM (2015) A representative democracy to reduce interdependency in a multi-model ensemble. J Clim 28(13):5171–5194.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00362.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Skamarock WC, Klemp JB, Dudhia J, Gill DO, Barker DM, Wang W, Powers JG (2005) A description of the advanced research WRF version 2 (No. NCAR/TN-468+ STR). National Center For Atmospheric Research Boulder Co Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Div, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  59. Storey M, Price O, Tasker E (2016) The role of weather past fire and topography in crown fire occurrence in eastern Australia. Int J Wildland Fire 25:1048–1060.  https://doi.org/10.1071/WF15171 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tang T, Zhong S, Luo L, Bian X, Heilman WE, Winkler J (2015) The potential impact of regional climate change on fire weather in the United States. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 105(1):1–21.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00045608.2014.968892 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. van der Linden P, Mitchell JFB (eds) (2009) ENSEMBLES: climate change and its impacts—summary of research and results from the ENSEMBLES project. Met Office Hadley Centre, ExeterGoogle Scholar
  62. Whitman E, Sherren K, Rapaport E (2015) Increasing daily wildfire risk in the Acadian Forest Region of Nova Scotia Canada under future climate change. Reg Environ Chang 15:1447–1459.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-014-0698-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Williamson GJ, Prior LD, Jolly WM, Cochrane MA, Murphy BP, Bowman DMJS (2016) Measurement of inter- and intra-annual variability of landscape fire activity at a continental scale: the Australian case. Environ Res Lett 11:035003.  https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/035003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Environmental Risk Management of BushfiresUniversity WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.Hawkesbury Institute for the EnvironmentWestern Sydney UniversityPenrithAustralia
  3. 3.Climate and Atmospheric Science Branch, NSW Office of Environment and HeritageParramattaAustralia
  4. 4.ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and Climate Change Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations