INFERNO: a fire and emissions scheme for the Met Office’s Unified Model
Geoscientific Model Development Discussions
Open access. © Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Warm and dry climatological conditions favour the occurrence of forest fires. These fires then become a significant emission source to the atmosphere. Despite this global importance, fires are a local phenomenon and are difficult to represent in a large-scale Earth System Model (ESM). To address this, the INteractive Fire and Emission algoRithm for Natural envirOnments (INFERNO) was developed. INFERNO follows a reduced complexity approach and is intended for decadal to centennial scale climate simulations and assessment models for policy making. Fuel flammability is simulated using temperature, relative humidity, fuel density as well as precipitation and soil moisture. Combining flammability with ignitions and vegetation, burnt area is diagnosed. Emissions of carbon and key species are estimated using the carbon scheme in the JULES land surface model. JULES also possesses fire index diagnostics which we document and compare with our fire scheme. Two meteorology datasets and three ignition modes are used to validate the model. INFERNO is shown to effectively diagnose global fire occurrence (R = 0.66) and emissions (R = 0.59) through an approach appropriate to the complexity of an ESM, although regional biases remain.
The lead author gracefully thanks the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC, UK) and the UK Met Office for ongoing financial support, as well as the European Commission’s Marie Curie Actions International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) for past support under the REQUA project.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Copernicus Publications via the DOI in this record.
Published: 29 February 2016