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Regional aspects of modelling burned areas in Europe

Krasovskii, Andrey, Khabarov, Nikolay, Migliavacca, Mirco, Kraxner, Florian, Obersteiner, Michael
The International journal of wildland fire 2016 v.25 no.8 pp. 811-818
algorithms, biomass, climate, data collection, databases, emissions, fire fighting, forest fires, fuels, information systems, models, probability, Europe
This paper presents a series of improvements to the quantitative modelling of burned areas in Europe under historical climate. The Standalone Fire Model (SFM) based on a state-of-the-art large scale mechanistic fire modelling algorithm is used to reproduce historical burned areas reported in the two publicly available datasets – European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) and Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED). The most recent versions of these sources allow a broader validation of SFM’s modelled burned areas at a country level. Our analysis is carried out for the years 2000–2008 for 17 European countries utilising both EFFIS and GFED datasets for model benchmarking. We suggest improving the original model by modifying the fire probability function reflecting fuel moisture. This modification allows for a dramatic improvement of accuracy in modelled burned areas for a range of European countries. We also explore in detail a pixel-level parametrisation of firefighting efficiency in SFM along with modifications of the biomass map. In comparison with the aggregated country-level approach, the advantages of the finer calibration are quite minor for the most recent version of the GFED dataset. Overall, the annual burned areas modelled by this improved SFM version are in good agreement with historical observations.