Climate change will bring about major shifts in worldwide fire patterns, and those changes are coming fast, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with scientists at Texas Tech University.
The findings are reported in the April 8 issue of PLoS ONE, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal of the Public Library of Science.
Researchers used thermal-infrared sensor data obtained between 1996 and 2006 from European Space Agency satellites in their study of pyrogeography – the distribution and behavior of wildfire – on a global scale. They not only got a global view of where wildfires occur, but they determined the common environmental characteristics associated with the risk of those fires. They then incorporated those variables into projections for how future climate scenarios will impact wildfire occurrence worldwide.