Evaluation of CMIP6 model performances in simulating fire weather spatiotemporal variability on global and regional scales

Carolina Gallo, Jonathan M. Eden, Bastien Dieppois, Igor Drobyshev, Peter Z. Fulé, Jesús San-Miguel-Ayanz, Matthew Blackett

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Weather and climate play an important role in shaping global wildfire regimes and geographical distributions of burnable area. As projected by the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-AR6), in the near future, fire danger is likely to increase in many regions due to warmer temperatures and drier conditions. General Circulation Models (GCMs) are an important resource in understanding how fire danger will evolve in a changing climate but, to date, the development of fire risk scenarios has not fully accounted for systematic GCM errors and biases. This study presents a comprehensive global evaluation of the spatiotemporal representation of fire weather indicators from the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System simulated by 16 GCMs from the 6th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). While at the global scale, the ensemble mean is able to represent variability, magnitude and spatial extent of different fire weather indicators reasonably well when compared to the latest global fire reanalysis, there is considerable regional and seasonal dependence in the performance of each GCM. To support the GCM selection and application for impact studies, the evaluation results are combined to generate global and regional rankings of individual GCM performance. The findings highlight the value of GCM evaluation and selection in developing more reliable projections of future climate-driven fire danger, thereby enabling decision makers and forest managers to take targeted action and respond to future fire events.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3103–3122
Number of pages20
JournalGeoscientific Model Development
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) 2022. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/),
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work is properly cited.


We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme, which, through its Working Group on Coupled Modelling, coordinated and promoted CMIP6. We thank the climate modelling groups for producing and making available their model output, the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) for archiving the data and providing access, and the multiple funding agencies who support CMIP6 and ESGF


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