The status and challenge of global fire modelling

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  • Biomass burning impacts vegetation dynamics, biogeochemical cycling, atmospheric chemistry, and climate, with sometimes deleterious socio-economic impacts. Under future climate projections it is often expected that the risk of wildfires will increase. Our ability to predict the magnitude and geographic pattern of future fire impacts rests on our ability to model fire regimes, using either well-founded empirical relationships or process-based models with good predictive skill. While a large variety of models exist today, it is still unclear which type of model or degree of complexity is required to model fire adequately at regional to global scales. This is the central question underpinning the creation of the Fire Model Intercomparison Project (FireMIP), an international initiative to compare and evaluate existing global fire models against benchmark data sets for present-day and historical conditions. In this paper we review how fires have been represented in fire-enabled dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs) and give an overview of the current state of the art in fire-regime modelling. We indicate which challenges still remain in global fire modelling and stress the need for a comprehensive model evaluation and outline what lessons may be learned from FireMIP.
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  • Hantson, S., Arneth, A., Harrison, S. P., Kelley, D. I., Prentice, I. C., Rabin, S. S., ... & Yue, C. (2016). The status and challenge of global fire modelling. Biogeosciences, 13(11), 3359-3375. doi:10.5194/bg-13-3359-2016
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  • 13
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  • 11
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  • Stijn Hantson and Almut Arneth acknowledge support by the EU FP7 projects BACCHUS (grant agreement no. 603445) and LUC4C (grant agreement no. 603542). This work was supported, in part, by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), through the Helmholtz Association and its research programme ATMO, and the HGF Impulse and Networking fund. The MC-FIRE model development was supported by the global change research programmes of the Biological Resources Division of the US Geological Survey (CA 12681901,112-), the US Department of Energy (LWT-6212306509), the US Forest Service (PNW96–5I0 9 -2-CA), and funds from the Joint Fire Science Program. I. Colin Prentice is supported by the AXA Research Fund under the Chair Programme in Biosphere and Climate Impacts, part of the Imperial College initiative Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment. Fang Li was funded by the National Natural Science Founda-tion (grant agreement no. 41475099 and no. 2010CB951801). Jed O. Kaplan was supported by the European Research Council (COEVOLVE 313797). Sam S. Rabin was funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, as well as by the Carbon Mitigation Initiative. Allan Spessa acknowledges fund-ing support provided by the Open University Research Investment Fellowship scheme. FireMIP is a non-funded community initiative and participation is open to all.
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