Introducing the AFLAME project (Attributing Amazon Forest fires from Land-use Alteration and Meteorological Extremes)

The AFLAME project is funded through the Newton Fund Climate Science for Services Partnership Brazil via the Met Office and works collaboratively with scientists in the UK and Brazil.

There is an emerging realization that Amazonian wildfires that were formerly driven by deforestation and agricultural expansion, are now growing to unprecedented magnitudes because of meteorological extremes. These escaped agricultural fires are rapidly degrading remaining forests in the Legal Brazilian Amazon (LBA).

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview, Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) data from NASA EOSDIS, and data from the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED) [Public domain]

Within this project we aim to attribute the change in wildfire risk due to human induced climate change and predict how these wildfire occurrences may change in possible future climates. Other factors besides increased greenhouse gas emissions may affect wildfire incidence, for instance, large-scale natural variability in the climate system from events such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as well as how the land is being used and deforested. We will be performing a series of sensitivity studies to determine the relative influence of each of these factors alone on Amazon wildfire outbreaks. To do this we will analyse the results from the distributed computing simulations for the occurrence of weather conducive to wildfire outbreaks and parse this output into a statistical wildfire module.

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