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Keywords:

  • Boreal forest;
  • Climate model;
  • Fire history;
  • Global change

Abstract. Despite increasing temperatures since the end of the Little Ice Age (ca. 1850), wildfire frequency has decreased as shown in many field studies from North America and Europe. We believe that global warming since 1850 may have triggered decreases in fire frequency in some regions and future warming may even lead to further decreases in fire frequency. Simulations of present and future fire regimes, using daily outputs from the General Circulation Model (GCM), were in good agreement with recent trends observed in fire history studies. Daily data, rather than monthly data, were used because the weather and, consequently, fire behavior can change dramatically over time periods much shorter than a month. The simulation and fire history results suggest that the impact of global warming on northern forests through forest fires may not be disastrous and that, contrary to the expectation of an overall increase in forest fires, there may be large regions of the Northern Hemisphere with a reduced fire frequency.