EGU22-11760, updated on 25 May 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Climatic drivers explain the interannual variability of the global burned area

Andrina Gincheva1, Sonia Jerez1, Juli G. Pausas2, Joaquín Bedía3, Sergio M Vicente-Serrano4, Antonello Provenzale5, Emilio Chuvieco6, John Abatzoglou7, and Marco Turco1
Andrina Gincheva et al.
  • 1Regional Atmospheric Modelling Group, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain (
  • 2Spanish National Research Council (CIDE-CSIC), Valencia, Spain
  • 3Santander Meteorology Group, University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain
  • 4Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología (IPE-CSIC), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Zaragoza, Spain,
  • 5Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources, National Research Council, Pisa, Italy
  • 6Environmental Remote Sensing Research Group, Department of Geology, Geography and the Environment, Universidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Spain
  • 7Department of Geography, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, USA

Understanding the response of fire to climate variations is essential to adapt fire management systems under climate change. Although several studies have analysed the drivers of the average spatial variability of fire, the assessment of the temporal variability of fire in response to climate across the globe has proved challenging, largely due to complexity of the processes involved, the limitation of observation data and the compound effect of the multiple drivers, which usually cause non-linear effects.

In this study, we analyse how much of the interannual variability in observed burned area (BA) is linked with temporal variations in climate at global scale. To solve this question, we use the burned area data of the FireCCI51. product for the period 2001-2019 at the global scale, and different climate metrics that are directly related to drought occurrence, including indices like the Fire Weather Index (FWI), the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), and the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). Our study shows complex spatial patterns in the relationship between climate drivers and BA variability, highlighting where variations in FWI, SPI, SPEI or their interaction explain BA variability. While in some areas the interannual variability of burned area does not show a statistically significant influence of climate variability, over a substantial portion of the global burnable area (~60%) the BA variability can be explained by interannual variability of climate drivers. Globally, climate variability accounts for roughly two thirds (64%) of the observed temporal BA variability.

How to cite: Gincheva, A., Jerez, S., Pausas, J. G., Bedía, J., Vicente-Serrano, S. M., Provenzale, A., Chuvieco, E., Abatzoglou, J., and Turco, M.: Climatic drivers explain the interannual variability of the global burned area, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-11760,, 2022.