The publication “Variation of lightning-ignited wildfire patterns under climate change” by Francisco J. Pérez-Invernón et al. is now available as open access in Nature Communications. For this study, a recently
developed Long-Continuing-Current (LCC) lightning parameterization has been included in the EMAC model to simulate the sensitivity of lightning and LCC lightning to global change. Globally, a 41% increase of LCC lightning has been simulated, which is slightly lower than the projected increase of total lightning. The results show that lightning schemes including LCC lightning are needed to project the occurrence of lightning-ignited wildfires under climate change.
A summary of the publication is also published in the journal’s “Behind the Paper” section.
Abstract: Lightning is the main precursor of natural wildfires and Long-Continuing-Current (LCC) lightning flashes are proposed to be the main igniters of lightning-ignited wildfires (LIW). Previous studies predict a change of the global occurrence rate and spatial pattern of total lightning. Nevertheless, the sensitivity of lightning-ignited wildfire occurrence to climate change is uncertain. Here, we investigate space-based measurements of LCC lightning associated with lightning ignitions and present LCC lightning projections under the Representative Concentration Pathway RCP6.0 for the 2090s by applying a recent LCC lightning parameterization based on the updraft strength in thunderstorms. We find a 41% global increase of the LCC lightning flash rate. Increases are largest in South America, the western coast of North America, Central America, Australia, Southern and Eastern Asia, and Europe, while only regional variations are found in northern polar forests, where fire risk can affect permafrost soil carbon release. These results show that lightning schemes including LCC lightning are needed to project the occurrence of lightning-ignited wildfires under climate change.
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Pérez-Invernón, F.J., Gordillo-Vázquez, F.J., Huntrieser, H. et al. Variation of lightning-ignited wildfire patterns under climate change. Nat Commun 14, 739 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-36500-5