Researchers at UC Berkeley and Texas Tech are out with a new study that predicts climate change will alter global forest fire patters, making some areas more prone to fire while lessening the risk to others. The result could mean big changes for areas that either depend on fire or those that fear it. The study is titled Global Pyrogeography: the Current and Future Distribution of Wildfire and it's published in the journal PLoS ONE.
The two most important variables identified were the availability of grass, forests, or other material to burn and the window of time in which fire was most likely, a variable that depends on how hot or dry an area was at different periods throughout the year.
The study assumed GHG emissions abatement in line with the mid-range scenario developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to Greenwire:
A low-emission scenario assumes emissions will peak around the middle of the century and will start to slow until they reach 1990 levels of carbon emissions -- approximately 7 gigatons -- by the end of the century, whereas the mid-range emissions scenario predicts reaching almost 30 gigatons of carbon emissions by the end of the century.
What's clear is that as more and more science comes out predicting a significant change in our plant's patterns, we will need to adjust our conservation and land management policies. The researchers said that their study could help entities plan better to manage fires.
The full study can be found here.