Released on June 28, 2018
The Global Fire WEather Database (GFWED) integrates different weather factors influencing the likelihood of a vegetation fire starting and spreading. It is based on the Fire Weather Index (FWI) System, which tracks the dryness of three general fuel classes, and the potential behavior of a fire if it were to start. Each day, FWI values are calculated from global weather data, including satellite rainfall data from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. The FWI System is the most widely used fire danger rating system in the world, and has been adopted for different boreal, temperate and tropical fire environments. GFWED provides a globally consistent fire weather dataset for fire researchers and managers to apply locally.
The Fire Weather Index component is suitable as a general index of fire danger. Globally, shifts in continental-scale fire activity follow seasonal changes in the FWI. Over South America and Africa, regions of high FWI and active agricultural burning shift with the tropical rain belts, seen in the GPM precipitation overlay. Over North America and Eurasia, the FWI will ‘activate’ in the spring, and shows how week-to-week surges in fire activity can be driven by high FWI values.
In Indonesia, the Drought Code (DC) component is used to track the potential for agricultural fires to escape underground into peat soils, where they cannot be extinguished until the return of the monsoon rains. From August to October, areas of concentrated fire activity and high DC caused continuous smoke emissions and hazardously poor air quality until the return of the monsoon rains in November. Scientists are working with the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to augment their operational FWI system with GPM precipitation.
Precipitation color bar from 0 to 250 millimeter per day for Indonesia.
In British Columbia, Canada, 2017 was a severe fire year, where the FWI is used for fire prevention and pre-preparedness. Through July and August, stretches of high FWI in the interior led to periods of extreme fire behavior and the highest annual recorded burned area for the province.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 188.8.131.52.0