Capability – Modelling of the climate and environment


Improving our capability to model and predict wildfire is one of the core objectives of the Centre.  From representing fires in global-scale climate modelling through to high-resolution regional risk forecasting, the Centre has a range of ongoing projects working on the next generation of fire modelling.

At the global scale, Centre co-directors Apostolos Voulgarakis and Colin Prentice supervised the development of the INteractive Fire and Emission algoRithm for Natural envirOnments (INFERNO) wildfire model at Imperial College London.  This model has been designed specifically for use in global climate studies, and is now used in the JULES community land surface model and the NERC/Met Office UKESM1 global climate model.  Several researchers at the Centre are working on further enhancements to INFERNO, including adding a peat fire capability, better representation of fuel build-up, and improved representation of human drivers of fire occurrence.  A further project at King’s College London is developing the first behavioural model of human fire use: the Wildfire Human Agency Model (WHAM!) which simulates deliberate fire use based on behavioural land-use studies, and work is ongoing to develop a coupled version of WHAM-INFERNO to holistically represent both wild and prescribed fire use in the earth system.

Other Centre members are focused on modelling fires at finer scales, from country-scale to the level of individual fires.  Ongoing projects include: developing a high-resolution model of fire occurrence over the US; modelling individual fires by combining machine learning methods and data assimilation to improve short-term forecasting capabilities; developing improved physical parameterisations and theory of fire spread and behaviour; and studying the historical drivers of burnt area in a range of different ecosystems, which can then inform improved modelling representations – for instance how vegetation and fire occurrence vary with different CO2 concentrations and urban development levels, which will help to constrain our future climate projections of this critical societal impact

Who to contact

If you have general queries about our capabilities and research in this area, please get in touch with our key contact point below.

Dr Matt Kasaor (Physics, ICL) Email:

Dr Matt Kasaor

People working in this area

Prof Colin Prentice  (lead) (ICL) – Chair in Biosphere and Climate Impacts – read more
Dr Apostolos Voulgarakis (lead) (ICL, TUC) – Reader in Atmospheric Physics –  read more
Prof Ralf Toumi (ICL) (ICL) – Co-Director, Grantham Institute – Climate Change & Environment – read more
Dr James Millington (KCL) – Reader in Landscape Ecology – read more

Dr Matt Kasoar (ICL) – PDRA – Developing global modelling capabilities to represent wildfires in the Earth system
Dr Ramesh Ningthoujam (ICL) – PDRA – Developing a global wildfire taxonomy
Dr Manolis Grillakis (TUC) – PDRA – Exploring the connections between wildfires and climate

Katie Blackford (ICL) – PhD student – the role of peat fires in shaping future atmospheric composition, the carbon cycle and climate
Olivia Haas (ICL) – PhD student – CO2 impacts on past and future fire regimes and their consequences for biodiversity
Nikolaos Kalogeropoulos (ICL) – PhD student –  mathematical models and programs to simulate forest fire propagation near inhabited communities
Theo Keeping (ICL) – PhD student – Nowcasting the risks of wildfire
Alex Kuhn-Regnier (ICL) – PhD student – Predicting the ecological impacts of future fire activity on a global scale
Ol Perkins (KCL) – PhD student – Agent-Based methods for representing anthropogenic fire in Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVMs)
Anastasios Rovithakis (TUC) – PhD student- Future Climate Change Impact on Wildfire Danger over the Mediterranean: the case of Greece
David Sandoval Calle (ICL) – PhD student – Developing fire-spread equations for large-scale modelling
Yicheng Shen (Reading) – PhD student – relationships between fire and fire-related plant traits
João Teixeira (MetOffice/Exeter) – PhD student – Role of fire emissions in present and future atmospheric composition-climate feedbacks
Enoch Tsui (ICL) – PhD student – Tropical Cyclone and Wildfire Interactions

Leadership Team