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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-33
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-33
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 14 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 14 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Fire weather index: the skill provided by ECMWF ensemble prediction system

Francesca Di Giuseppe1, Claudia Vitolo1, Blazej Krzeminski1, and Jesús San-Miguel2 Francesca Di Giuseppe et al.
  • 1ECMWF, Reading, UK
  • 2ICTP, Ispra, Italy

Abstract. In the framework of the EU Copernicus program, the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) on behalf of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) is forecasting daily fire weather indices using its medium range ensemble prediction system. The use of weather forecast in place of local observations can extend early warnings up to 1–2 weeks allowing for greater proactive coordination of resource-sharing and mobilization within and across countries. Using one year of pre-operational service in 2017 and the fire weather index (FWI) here we assess the capability of the system globally and analyze in detail three major events in Chile, Portugal and California. The analysis shows that the skill provided by the ensemble forecast system extends to more than 10 days when compared to the use of mean climate making a case of extending the forecast range to the sub-seasonal to seasonal time scale. However accurate FWI prediction does not translate into accuracy in the forecast of fire activity globally. Indeed when all 2017 detected fires are considered, including agricultural and human induced burning, high FWI values only occurs in 50 % of the cases and only in Boreal regions. Nevertheless for very important events mostly driven by weather condition, FWI forecast provides advance warning that could be instrumental in setting up management strategies.

Francesca Di Giuseppe et al.

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Francesca Di Giuseppe et al.

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Latest update: 05 Apr 2020
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Short summary
Forecast of daily fire weather indices using ECMWF ensemble prediction system show to have a good skill in predicting flammable conditions in most regions of the world. The availability of these forecast through the Copernicus Emergency Management Service can extend early warnings up to 1–2 weeks allowing for greater proactive coordination of resource-sharing and mobilization within and across countries.
Forecast of daily fire weather indices using ECMWF ensemble prediction system show to have a...
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