3 years ago

Pyroconvection Risk in Australia: Climatological Changes in Atmospheric Stability and Surface Fire Weather Conditions

Acacia Pepler, Andrew J. Dowdy
Extreme wildfires with strong convective processes in their plumes have recently led to disastrous impacts on various regions of the world. The Continuous Haines index (CH) is used in Australia to represent vertical atmospheric stability and humidity measures relating to pyroconvective processes. CH climatology is examined here using reanalysis data from 1979–2016, revealing large spatial and seasonal variations throughout Australia. Various measures of severity are investigated, including regionally specific thresholds. CH is combined with near-surface fire weather conditions, as a type of compound event, and is examined in relation to environmental conditions associated with pyroconvection. Significant long-term changes in CH are found for some regions and seasons, with these changes corresponding to changes in near-surface conditions in some cases. In particular, an increased risk of pyroconvection is identified for southeast Australia during spring and summer, due to decreased vertical atmospheric stability and humidity combined with more severe near-surface conditions.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/2017GL076654

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