Predicting the ecological impacts of future fire activity on a global scale

This PhD project aims to explore global drivers of burnt area (BA) in order to improve the way BA is modelled by the INFERNO fire model. The INFERNO fire model is part of the JULES land surface model, which is itself part of the UK earth system modelling project (UKESM).

The first part of the project, which has culminated in the first paper of the PhD, titled “The importance of antecedent vegetation and drought conditions as global drivers of burnt area”, aimed to quantify the global drivers of BA. The study placed particular emphasis on the importance of antecedent vegetation variables, since previous studies have found that current fire models do not represent the relationships between antecedent vegetation and fire well.

Currently, the project is concerned with translating results from the aforementioned study into tangible improvements to the performance and reliability of the INFERNO fire model. This will involve adapting the existing simple statistical nature of the model in order to take the newly quantified relationships into account, especially the relationship with antecedent vegetation.


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Project duration: 2018-2022