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Exacerbated fires in Mediterranean Europe due to anthropogenic warming projected with non-stationary climate-fire models

Journal: Nature Communications
Year: 2018  
Status: Published
In this status since: 2 Oct 2018
Link to PDF: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-06358-z
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06358-z
Authors:
Turco, M., Rosa Cánovas, J.J., , Jerez, S., Montávez, Montávez, J.P., Llasat, M.C., Provenzale, A.

The observed trend to warmer and drier conditions in Mediterranean regions is projected to continue in the next decades. An increased risk of large fires is in general associated with these projections. However an assessment of potential climate change impacts on fires at (and above) the Paris Agreement global temperature goal is still missing. Also, the sensitivity of such impacts to potential non-stationarity in the climate-fire relationship remains unveiled. Here we model the impact of climate change at 1.5, 2 and 3ºC mean global warming on the summer Burned Area (BA) across all eco-regions in Mediterranean Europe, with and without taking into account the possible modifications of climate-BA links under climate change. We find an increase of BA to nearly double from 53% to 91% between 1.5 and 2ºC with relatively little differences considering the ’non-stationary’ model (respectively 52% and 81%). At 3ºC the BA increase is much higher, 197%, but would be reduced to 130% if non-stationarity is considered. Therefore, even under this assumption that led to lower impacts, only not surpassing the ambitious 1.5 ºC target consents to avoid to double BA in the future.