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Title (Primary) A compound event-oriented framework to tropical fire risk assessment in a changing climate
Author Ribeiro, A.F.S.; Brando, P.M.; Santos, L.; Rattis, L.; Hirschi, M.; Hauser, M.; Seneviratne, S.I.; Zscheischler, J.
Journal Environmental Research Letters
Year 2022
Department CHS
Volume 17
Issue 6
Page From art. 065015
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
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Abstract Tropical fire activity closely follows the co-occurrence of multiple climate stressors. Yet, it remains challenging to quantify how changes in climate alter the likelihood of fire risks associated with compound events. Recent abrupt changes in fire regimes in iconic landscapes in Brazil (namely the Pantanal and Xingu) provide a key opportunity to evaluate how extremely dry and hot conditions, both together and individually, have influenced the probability of large fires. Here we quantify the relationships between climate and fire across these regions and provide evidence on the extent to which fire risk and the associated impacts could be constrained if anthropogenic global warming is limited. We investigate the burned area, differentiating between fire types according to land use (forest fires, savanna fires, farming fires and grassland and wetland fires), and derive present and future fire risks linked to multiple climate variables. We show that concurrent air dryness (high vapour-pressure deficit (VPD)) and low precipitation have driven fire occurrence in both Xingu and the Pantanal, with VPD playing a dominant role. Historical climatic change has already increased compound event-related (CE-related) fire risks of all fire types (5%–10%), and these risks are likely to increase in the future due to global warming. The likelihood of CE-related increase in fire risk may be reduced by up to 14.4% if global warming is constrained to +1.5 °C instead of +3 °C. Nevertheless, substantially increased CE-related fire risks are still expected even if restricting global mean warming to 1.5 °C, particularly in the Pantanal. We thus conclude that climate action should be coordinated with environmental protection to reduce ignition sources and promote effective conservation measures to preserve these biomes.
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Ribeiro, A.F.S., Brando, P.M., Santos, L., Rattis, L., Hirschi, M., Hauser, M., Seneviratne, S.I., Zscheischler, J. (2022):
A compound event-oriented framework to tropical fire risk assessment in a changing climate
Environ. Res. Lett. 17 (6), art. 065015