Climatological evaluation of Haines forest fire weather index over the Mediterranean Basin

Hasan Tatli* and Murat Turkes ¸ Department of Geography, Physical Geography Division, Climatology/Meteorology Group, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey   ABSTRACT: Forest fires are the most crucial natural threat to forests and wooded areas. They destroy many more trees than all other natural catastrophes such as parasite attacks, insects, extreme weather events and others. Forest fires, especially in summer and dry autumn/spring periods, are frequent in the Mediterranean basin and represent growing environmental and ecological problems. The aim of this investigation is to determine a climatic pattern of fire-meteorology over the Mediterranean basin via the frequency analysis of the forest fires weather index (FFWI) of Haines. The FFWI values were obtained by using the hourly data derived from reanalysis fields available from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) for the period 1980 – 2010. High frequency values of FFWI, taken to be a sign of moderate-level risk of forest fires, were obtained on the forests, scrubs, succulents and wooded areas in several countries facing the sea including Greece, Italy, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Slovenia, France, Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Tunisia, almost all of which are characterized by dry summer, subtropical Mediterranean climates. As expected, the highest-level risk values are found in the arid desert climate regions: the desert areas of the Sahara and Libya in North Africa and the semi-arid steppe climate regions of the Middle East, as well as the semi-arid environments near the Caspian Sea basin. Copyright  2013 Royal Meteorological Society KEY WORDS: fire meteorology; frequency; Haines Index; Mediterranean; dry summer; NCEP/NCAR-reanalysis Received 10 April 2012; Revised 3 September 2012; Accepted 10 October 2012 For full article please click on Tatli and Türkes_2013_Climatol evaluation of Haines forest fire index over Mediterranean_Meteorol Appl
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