Climate variability and forest fires in central and south-central Chile
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This paper evaluates the relationship between fire occurrence (number and burned area) and climate variability (precipitation and maximum temperatures) across central and south-central Chile (32 degrees-43 degrees S) during recent decades (1976-2013). This region sustains the largest proportion of the Chilean population, contains ecologically important remnants of endemic ecosystems, the largest extension of forest exotic plantations, and concentrates most of the fire activity in the country. Fire activity in central Chile was mainly associated with above-average precipitation during winter of the previous year and with dry conditions during spring to summer. The later association was particularly strong in the southern, wetter part of the study region. Maximum temperature had a positive significant relationship with burned area across the study region, with stronger correlations toward the south. Fires in central Chile were significantly related to El Nino-Southern Oscillation, through rainfall anomalies during the year previous to the fire season. The Antarctic Oscillation during winter through summer was positively related to fires across the study area due to drier/warmer conditions associated with the positive polarity of this oscillation. Climate change projections for the region reveal an all-season decrease in precipitation and increases in temperature, that may likely result in an increment of the occurrence and the area affected by fires, as it has been observed during a multi-year drought afflicting central Chile since 2010.
Artículo de publicación ISI
Quote ItemEcosphere Volumen: 9 Número: 4 Número de artículo: e02171
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