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Identifying Possible Climate Change Signals Using Meteorological Parameters in Short-Term Fire Weather Variability for Russian Boreal Forest in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

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Document pages: 40 pages

Abstract: The Boreal forest is a terrestrial ecosystem highly vulnerable to the impacts of short-term climate and weather variabilities. Detecting abrupt, rapid climate-induced changes in fire weather and related changes in fire seasonality can provide important insights to assessing impacts of climate change on forestry. This paper, taking the Sakha Republic of Russia as study area, aims to suggest an approach for detecting signals indicating climate-induced changes in fire weather to express recent fire weather variability by using short-term ranks of major meteorological parameters such as air temperature and atmospheric precipitation. Climate data from the “Global Summary of the Day Product” of NOAA (the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) for 1996 to 2018 were used to investigate meteorological parameters that drive fire activity. The detection of the climate change signals is made through a 4-step analysis. First, we used descriptive statistics to grasp monthly, annual, seasonal and peak fire period characteristics of fire weather. Then we computed historical normals for WMO reference period, 1961-1990, and the most recent 30-year period for comparison with the current means. The variability of fire weather is analyzed using standard deviation, coefficient of variation, percentage departures from historical normals, percentage departures from the mean, and precipitation concentration index. Inconsistency and abrupt changes in the evolution of fire weather are assessed using homogeneity analysis whilst a Mann-Kendall test is used to detect significant trends in the time series. The results indicate a significant increase of temperature during spring and fall months, which extends the fire season and potentially contributes to increase of burned areas. We again detected a significant rainfall shortage in September which extended the fire season. Furthermore, this study suggests a new approach in statistical methods appropriate for the detection of climate change signals on fire weather variability using short-term climate ranks and evaluation of its impact on fire seasonality and activity.

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