Canadian Forest Service Publications

Development of a global fire weather database. 2015. Field, R.D.; Spessa, A.C.; Aziz, N.A.; Camia, A.; Cantin, A.; Carr, R.; de Groot, W.J.; Dowdy, A.J.; Flannigan, M.D.; Manomaiphiboon, K.; Pappenberger, F.; Tanpipat, V.; Wang, X. National Hazards and Earth System Sciences 15:1407-1423.

Year: 2015

Available from: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36192

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.5194/nhess-15-1407-2015

† This site may require a fee.

Abstract

The Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FWI) System isthe mostly widely usedfire dangerrating system in the world. Wehave developed a global database of daily FWI System calculations, beginning in 1980, called the Global Fire WEather Database (GFWED) gridded to a spatial res olution of 0.5° latitude by 2/3° longitude. Input weather data were obtained from the NASA Modern Era Retrospective- Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA), and two different estimates of daily precipitation from rain gauges over land. FWI System Drought Code calculations from the gridded data sets were compared to calculations from in dividual weather station data for a representative set of 48 stations in North, Central and South America, Europe, Rus sia, Southeast Asia and Australia. Agreement between grid ded calculations and the station-based calculations tended to be most different at low latitudes for strictly MERRAbased calculations. Strong biases could be seen in either di rection: MERRA DC over the Mato Grosso in Brazil reached unrealistically high values exceeding DC= 1500 during the dry season but was too low over Southeast Asia during the dry season. These biases are consistent with those previ ously identified in MERRA's precipitation, and they rein force the need to consider alternative sources of precipitation data. GFWED can be used for analyzing historical relation ships between fire weather andfire activity at continental and global scales, in identifying large-scale atmosphere-ocean controls on fire weather, and calibration of FWI-based fire prediction models.

Plain Language Summary

The Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FWI) System is the mostly widely used fire danger rating system in the world. We developed a global fire weather database of daily FWI System calculations for the period 1980–2012, gridded to a resolution of 0.5 latitude by 2/3 longitude. We compared FWI System Drought Code calculations from our data sets to calculations from individual weather station data for a representative set of 48 stations throughout North, Central and South America, Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia and Australia. The database will be useful for analyzing historical relationships between fire weather and fire activity at continental and global scales, in identifying large-scale atmosphere–ocean controls on fire weather, and in calibration of FWI-based fire prediction models.

Date modified: