Representing socio-economic factors in the INFERNO global fire model using the Human Development Index

Teixeira, João C.M.; Burton, Chantelle; Kelley, Douglas I. ORCID:; Folberth, Gerd A.; O'Connor, Fiona M.; Betts, Richard A.; Voulgarakis, Apostolos. 2023 Representing socio-economic factors in the INFERNO global fire model using the Human Development Index. Biogeosciences Discussions, bg-2023-136. 27, pp.

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Humans can act as fire starters or suppressors, changing fire regimes by increasing the number of ignitions, changing their timing, and altering fuel structure and abundance, which can be considered a human–environmental coupling. Considering the human influences on fire activity, representing socio-economic impacts on fires in global fire models is crucial to underpin the confidence in these modelling frameworks. In this work we implement a socio-economic factor in the fire ignition and suppression parametrisation in INFERNO based on a Human Development Index (HDI). HDI captures human development's income, health, and education dimensions leading to a representation where if there is more effort to improve human development, the population also invests in higher fire suppression. Including this representation of socio-economic factors in INFERNO reduces the annual mean burnt area (between 1997–2016) positive biases found in Temperate North America, Central America, Europe and Southern Hemisphere South America, by more than 100 % without statistically significant impact to other areas. In addition, it improves the representation of the burnt area trends, especially in Africa. Central Asia and Australia where observations show negative trends. Including socio-economic impacts on fire based on HDI in INFERNO provides a simple and linear representation of these effects on fire ignition and suppression, leading to an improvement of the model performance, especially in developed regions, These impacts are especially relevant to understand future climate regimes and inform policymakers on effects of fire policy in a changing climate.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
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Date made live: 09 Nov 2023 14:10 +0 (UTC)

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