Climatic Change

, Volume 82, Issue 1–2, pp 131–161 | Cite as

Self-Organised Criticality and the Response of Wildland Fires to Climate Change

  • Salvador Pueyo
Original Article


Here I present a new approach to forecasting the effects of climate change on catastrophic events, based on the ‘self-organised criticality’ concept from statistical physics. In particular, I develop the ‘self-organised critical fuel succession model’ (SOCFUS), which deals with wildland fires. I show that there is good agreement between model and data for the response pattern of the whole fire size statistical distribution to weather fluctuations in a boreal forest region. I tentatively predict the fire regime in this region for an instance of possible climate change scenario. I show that the immediate response is sharper than usually thought, but part of the added burning rate might not persist indefinitely. A large fraction of the extra burning in the transition period is likely to be concentrated in a few ‘climate change fires’, much larger than the largest fires that could currently occur. I also suggest that the major fire events recently observed in some tropical rainforest regions belong to a qualitatively different, even more abrupt type of response, which is also predicted by the model.


Boreal Forest Climate Change Scenario Fire Weather Index Springer Climatic Change Forest Protection Area 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Supplementary material

10584_2006_9134_MOESM1_ESM.doc (762 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salvador Pueyo
    • 1
  1. 1.Departament d‘EcologiaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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