Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 1407-1423, 2015
http://www.nat-hazards-earth-syst-sci.net/15/1407/2015/
doi:10.5194/nhess-15-1407-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
30 Jun 2015
Development of a Global Fire Weather Database
R. D. Field1,2, A. C. Spessa3,4, N. A. Aziz5, A. Camia6, A. Cantin7, R. Carr8, W. J. de Groot7, A. J. Dowdy9, M. D. Flannigan10,11, K. Manomaiphiboon12, F. Pappenberger13,14,15, V. Tanpipat12, and X. Wang10 1Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
2NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA
3Department Environment, Earth & Ecosystems, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
4Department Atmospheric Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
5Malaysian Meteorological Department, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
6Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Ispra, Italy
7Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada
8Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton, AB, Canada
9The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria, Australia
10Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
11Western Partnership on Wildland Fire Science, Edmonton, AB, Canada
12The Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand
13European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK
14College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
15School of Geographical Sciences, Bristol University, Bristol, UK
Abstract. The Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FWI) System is the mostly widely used fire danger rating system in the world. We have developed a global database of daily FWI System calculations, beginning in 1980, called the Global Fire WEather Database (GFWED) gridded to a spatial resolution of 0.5° latitude by 2/3° longitude. Input weather data were obtained from the NASA Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA), and two different estimates of daily precipitation from rain gauges over land. FWI System Drought Code calculations from the gridded data sets were compared to calculations from individual weather station data for a representative set of 48 stations in North, Central and South America, Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia and Australia. Agreement between gridded calculations and the station-based calculations tended to be most different at low latitudes for strictly MERRA-based calculations. Strong biases could be seen in either direction: MERRA DC over the Mato Grosso in Brazil reached unrealistically high values exceeding DC = 1500 during the dry season but was too low over Southeast Asia during the dry season. These biases are consistent with those previously identified in MERRA's precipitation, and they reinforce the need to consider alternative sources of precipitation data. GFWED can be used for analyzing historical relationships between fire weather and fire activity at continental and global scales, in identifying large-scale atmosphere–ocean controls on fire weather, and calibration of FWI-based fire prediction models.

Citation: Field, R. D., Spessa, A. C., Aziz, N. A., Camia, A., Cantin, A., Carr, R., de Groot, W. J., Dowdy, A. J., Flannigan, M. D., Manomaiphiboon, K., Pappenberger, F., Tanpipat, V., and Wang, X.: Development of a Global Fire Weather Database, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 1407-1423, doi:10.5194/nhess-15-1407-2015, 2015.
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We have developed a global database of daily, gridded Fire Weather Index System calculations beginning in 1980. Input data and two different estimates of precipitation from rain gauges were obtained from the NASA Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications. This data set can be used for analyzing historical relationships between fire weather and fire activity, and in identifying large-scale atmosphere–ocean controls on fire weather.
We have developed a global database of daily, gridded Fire Weather Index System calculations...
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