U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Final Report for Joint Fire Science Program Project 03-1-1-37


US government work.


Previous studies of wildland fire potential under a perturbed climate have focused on potential changes in near-surface atmospheric parameters (e.g., temperature, humidity, and precipitation) and vegetation changes. However, above-ground atmospheric conditions, such as atmospheric stability, also play a critical role in fire behavior, especially for larger fires. This study employed the widely-used Haines Index as a measure of above-ground conditions relevant to wildland fire and investigated the potential changes in the Haines Index over the next 100 years. The analysis is based on simulations from the most recent version of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate System Model (CCSM3.0), and considers potential future changes in the frequency, magnitude, and duration of periods with high fire potential. An additional important component of this work was the development of a 40-year (1961-2000) baseline climatology of the Haines Index against which projected future changes can be compared.