Sensitivity and evaluation of current fire risk and future projections due to climate change: the case study of Greece
- 1Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, Athens, Greece
- 2Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems and Forest Products Technology, Hellenic Agricultural Organization "DEMETER", Athens, Greece
Abstract. Current trends in the Mediterranean climate, and more specifically in Greece, indicate longer and more intense summer droughts that even extend out of season. In connection to this, the frequency of forest fire occurrence and intensity is on the rise. In the present study, the Canadian Fire Weather Index (FWI) is used in order to investigate the relationship between fire risk and meteorological conditions in Greece. FWI is a meteorologically based index designed in Canada and used worldwide, including the Mediterranean Basin, to estimate fire danger in a generalised fuel type based solely on weather observations. Here, an evaluation of the index is initially performed for the Greek territory using fire observations that cover a 15 yr period. Three critical fire risk threshold values are established for the area of Greece based on daily mean meteorological data: FWI = 15, FWI = 30 and FWI = 45, increasing from the northwest to the southeast. Subsequently, a regional climate model is employed providing input for the FWI system to investigate the impacts of climate change on fire risk for two future time periods, 2021–2050 and 2071–2100, under the A1B emissions scenario. Days with critical fire risk are expected to increase by as many as 50 days per year by the end of the century.