Skip to main content

The association between Northern Hemisphere climate patterns and interannual variability in Canadian wildfire activity

Buy Article:

$50.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract:

Wildfire impacts on ecological and socioeconomic systems are regulated, in part, by climate. Association between hemispheric-scale climate patterns and annual wildfire activity can be obscured by local factors that also control the initiation and spread of fires. Vegetation, topography, and fire suppression can be expected to influence conventional measures of annual wildfire activity such as area burned, effectively concealing evidence of broad-scale climate influences. This study investigates alternatives to area-burned statistics for quantifying annual wildfire activity in Canada in relation to Northern Hemisphere climate variability represented by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). We depart from conventional approaches by including socioeconomic measures of wildfire activity and by assessing spatially referenced wildfire data over units of observation chosen explicitly to diminish variability caused by factors unrelated to broad-scale climate. Our data-centred approach, combined with linear regression modelling, revealed that the AMO was positively correlated with national time series of very large fires (≥10 000 ha), wildfire-related evacuations, and fire suppression expenditures over the period 1975–2007. The AMO and wildfire activity were most closely coupled during a period of predominantly positive-phase Arctic Oscillation (AO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) between 1989 and 2001. Positive correlation between maximum evacuation wind speed and the AMO suggests that wind may be a causal factor in the AMO–wildfire relationship.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/x11-131

Affiliations: 1: Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, 5320-122 Street, Edmonton, AB T6H 3S5, Canada. 2: B.J. Stocks Wildfire Investigations Ltd., 128 Chambers Avenue, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 4V4, Canada.

Publication date: November 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Sample Issue
  • Reprints & Permissions
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
nrc/cjfr/2011/00000041/00000011/art00011
dcterms_title,dcterms_description,pub_keyword
6
5
20
40
5

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more