seasonal prediction of bushfire n.
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Seasonal Prediction of Bushfire

Seasonal Prediction of Bushfire

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Seasonal Prediction of Bushfire

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  1. Seasonal Prediction of Bushfire contributions from C. Lucas, B. Murphy and D. Jones

  2. SBAW • Current effort has been underway since 2006. Approaching the 4th round of workshops. • Separate efforts for the northern and southern portions of the country • Modelled on similar efforts in the USA (and now North America) • “Smoke-filled room” forecast methodology • Forecast for ‘fire potential’ • NOT an official CAWCR/BoM product!

  3. Fire Potential Definition The chance of a fire or number of fires occurring of such size, complexity or other impact (e.g. biodiversity or global emissions) which requires resources (from both a pre-emptive management and suppression capability) beyond the area in which it or they originate. Fire potential depends on many factors including weather and climate, fuel abundance and availability, recent fire history and fire-fighting resources available in an area

  4. How it works • Meteorologists, fire authorities, land managers and others meet at workshop • National level presentations: current state of environment, what has happened previously, climate outlooks (i.e. ENSO and the like) and NCC seasonal outlooks • State presentations: fuel status, past fires, etc. • Forecast produced by consultation: Putting heads together for best guess.

  5. Centre: Sparse fuel a result of long-term rainfall deficit Top End, E Kimberley: Copious rainfall over wet season has produced abundant fuel North and Central QLD: Abundant precipitation has resulted in very high grass fuel loads W Kimberley: Heavy fire activity last season has reduced fuels Pilbara, Gascoyne: Rainfall from TCs over last two years have produced abundant fuel North and Central NSW, SE QLD: Abundant grass fuel Goldfields: Reduced rainfall has increased availability of scrub fuels VIC, TAS, SE NSW: Long-term drought has resulted in abundant forest fuels. Possible early start to season 2008-9 Seasonal Fire Potential Outlook Southern SA: Long-term drought has resulted in increased fuel loads. Early start possible

  6. Problems • SUBJECTIVE!! Can be politically manipulated. • The forecast period is quite long (Aug to Mar…), so we need updates • Not much follow-up on updates. Need a dedicated person/process to lead this endeavour • Participation across states has been sporadic, particularly on the updates

  7. Needs • Monitoring –- current climate conditions relevant for bushfires (i.e. KBDI, FFDI, etc…) • Much of this is currently being done informally • Some plans to implement this in NCC in near future • Objective forecasts -- both statistical and dynamical approaches • Medium-term forecasts -- something between weather forecasts and seasonal outlooks (say 1 wk to 1 month forecasts of general tendencies…)

  8. Statistical • Seasonal outlook products based on current automated techniques • Current analysis of historical fire weather database suggests there are lagged relations between FFDI statistics and SST which vary on a regional basis. These could be further developed and exploited

  9. Dynamical • POAMA -- not enough skill in rainfall prediction to accurately drive fire outlooks. Work on improving the model preferred. • ACCESS – If/when model works as advertised, can it fill the needs for medium term and seasonal outlooks. • It won’t just ‘fall out’, but rather will take some focussed efforts to get this info out of model

  10. Misc • We still need input from fire agencies and others regarding fuel state, etc. • This is not just a ‘weather problem’, but rather a broad cross-disciplinary issue. It must be addressed from that POV to reach a satisfactory conclusion.