Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2017 Mar 6;7(1):81.
doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00116-9.

On the Key Role of Droughts in the Dynamics of Summer Fires in Mediterranean Europe

Affiliations
Free PMC article

On the Key Role of Droughts in the Dynamics of Summer Fires in Mediterranean Europe

Marco Turco et al. Sci Rep. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Summer fires frequently rage across Mediterranean Europe, often intensified by high temperatures and droughts. According to the state-of-the-art regional fire risk projections, in forthcoming decades climate effects are expected to become stronger and possibly overcome fire prevention efforts. However, significant uncertainties exist and the direct effect of climate change in regulating fuel moisture (e.g. warmer conditions increasing fuel dryness) could be counterbalanced by the indirect effects on fuel structure (e.g. warmer conditions limiting fuel amount), affecting the transition between climate-driven and fuel-limited fire regimes as temperatures increase. Here we analyse and model the impact of coincident drought and antecedent wet conditions (proxy for the climatic factor influencing total fuel and fine fuel structure) on the summer Burned Area (BA) across all eco-regions in Mediterranean Europe. This approach allows BA to be linked to the key drivers of fire in the region. We show a statistically significant relationship between fire and same-summer droughts in most regions, while antecedent climate conditions play a relatively minor role, except in few specific eco-regions. The presented models for individual eco-regions provide insights on the impacts of climate variability on BA, and appear to be promising for developing a seasonal forecast system supporting fire management strategies.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Correlations between detrended log(BA) and SPEI 3(0, 8), the SPEI for an accumulation time scale of 3 months and calculated in August (8) of the coincident summer (i.e. with the time lag of 0 year). Only correlations that are collectively significant from an FDR test are shown. This figure is created with Matlab version R2012a (http://www.mathworks.com/).
Figure 2
Figure 2
(a) Maximum significant correlation (in absolute value) between detrended log(BA) and SPEI; (b) length of the period (3, 6 and 12 months) and (c) final month of accumulation of the SPEI for which the absolute value of the correlation is maximum. Only correlations that are collectively significant from an FDR test are shown. This figure is created with Matlab version R2012a (http://www.mathworks.com/).
Figure 3
Figure 3
(a) Maximum significant partial correlations between detrended log(BA) and SPEI; (b) accumulation time scale (3, 6 and 12 months) of the SPEI; (c) seasons when the antecedent SPEI is calculated. Only correlations that are collectively significant from an FDR test are shown. This figure is created with Matlab version R2012a (http://www.mathworks.com/).
Figure 4
Figure 4
MLR results: (a) correlation between modelled and observed log(BA) (detrended) for each eco-region; (b) coefficient weights for the coincident drought conditions (SPEI); (c) coefficient weights for the antecedent drought conditions (SPEI). This figure is created with Matlab version R2012a (http://www.mathworks.com/).
Figure 5
Figure 5
Weights of the CD parameters of the SPEI-BA model (i.e. the coefficients a(i) of Eq. 1) plotted against the latitude of the centroids of the eco-regions.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 6 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. San-Miguel-Ayanz J, Moreno JM, Camia A. Analysis of large fires in European Mediterranean landscapes: Lessons learned and perspectives. Forest Ecology and Management. 2013;294:11–22. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.10.050. - DOI
    1. Keeley, J. E., Bond, W. J., Bradstock, R. A., Pausas, J. G. & Rundel, P. W. Fire in Mediterranean ecosystems: ecology, evolution and management (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
    1. Lionello, P. The climate of the mediterranean region: from the past to the future (Elsevier, 2012).
    1. Sousa P, et al. Trends and extremes of drought indices throughout the 20th century in the Mediterranean. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. 2011;11:33–51. doi: 10.5194/nhess-11-33-2011. - DOI
    1. Hoerling M, et al. On the increased frequency of Mediterranean drought. Journal of Climate. 2012;25:2146–2161. doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00296.1. - DOI

Publication types

Feedback