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Wildfire-Workshop-Presentation-Colin-Prentice

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Wildfire-Workshop-Presentation-Colin-Prentice

  1. 1. Wildfire and climate change – a hazy outlook? Iain Colin Prentice Imperial College London Director, The Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society
  2. 2. Basic principles • Primary production => fuel builds up • Hot and dry weather => fuel dries • Ignition source => fuel starts to burn Most fires don’t spread. Ignition isn’t “the cause” of fire. Crops and grazing can stop fires spreading.
  3. 3. To make valid predictions we need… • Data • Models • Skill (models should predict the data – at least!)
  4. 4. What do we have? • A very short (< 20 years) global record, with large differences between “products” • Models based on limited evidence, with large differences between models • Models with limited skill at predicting the data we have
  5. 5. Model responses to fuel and moisture Teckentrup et al. (2019) Biogeosciences
  6. 6. Model responses to population Teckentrup et al. (2019) Biogeosciences suppression -> duration suppression -> size ignition -> probability of fire start
  7. 7. Models vs data: half full or half empty? Forkel et al. (2019) Biogeosciences
  8. 8. Charcoal over 2000 years Marlon et al. (2008) Nature Geoscience
  9. 9. Charcoal, biomass-burning CH4 and temperature Harrison et al. (2018) Earth System Dynamics
  10. 10. Recent downward trend Andela et al. (2017) Science
  11. 11. Science directions • Improvement of data products • Improvement of models, especially for vegetation properties • New mechanisms needed, to ensure real progress in either field!
  12. 12. Policy dimensions Wildfire is not going away, and will increase in many regions! 1) Address climate change (but not by planting trees!) 2) Re-think insurance and spatial planning – flammable vegetation and people don’t mix!

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