YANG Guang DI Xue-Ying ZENG Tao SHU Zhan WANG Chao YU Hong-Zhou
Journal of Forestry Research
climatic warming; forest fire; area burned; forecast
Monthly projections of maximum temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, and wind speed were made based on the model of HadCM3 and the climatic change scenarios of IPCC SRES A2a and B2a for the future scenario periods of 2010–2039 (referred to as 2020s), 2040–2069(referred to as 2050s), and 2070–2099(referred to as 2080s). The period 1961–1990 was chosen as the baseline period. The observed and projected weather data were downscaled using delta change methods and historical relationships between weather data, area burned, and the seasonal severity rating (SSR) code of the Canadian Fire Weather Index System were examined. The variations of area burned as influenced by climate change were assessed quantitative and qualitative for the study region, assuming that the fire regimes had the similar responses to the warming climate as during the 20th century. Our results indicated that a linear regression relationship existing between the historical area burned and the mean SSR values with regression coefficient in the significant range of 0.16 to 0.61. It was evident that the increased SSR values could result in more area burned; the area burned in the study region would have an increasing pattern during the 21st century under scenarios A2a and B2a scenarios and the area burned would be doubled. Also, the future area burned would have a strong seasonal pattern that more fires would occur in summer and autumn fire season, especially in summer. The area burned in summer fire season would increase by 1.5 times compared to that in the baseline period in 2080s under A2a scenarios.