A bias corrected WRF mesoscale fire weather dataset for Victoria, Australia 1972-2012

Timothy Brown, Graham Mills, Sarah Harris, Domagoj Podnar, Hauss J Reinbold, Matt G Fearon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Climatology data of fire weather across the landscape can provide science-based evidence for informing strategic decisions to ameliorate the impacts (at times extreme) of bushfires on community socio-economic wellbeing and to sustain ecosystem health and functions. A long-term climatology requires spatial and temporal data that are consistent to represent the landscape in sufficient detail to be useful for fire weather studies and management purposes. To address this inhomogeneity problem for analyses of a variety of fire weather interests and to provide a dataset for management decision-support, a homogeneous 41-year (1972-2012), hourly interval, 4 km gridded climate dataset for Victoria has been generated using a combination of mesoscale modelling, global reanalysis data, surface observations, and historic observed rainfall analyses. Hourly near-surface forecast fields were combined with Drought Factor (DF) fields calculated from the Australian Water Availability Project (AWAP) rainfall analyses to generate fields of hourly fire danger indices for each hour of the 41-year period. A quantile mapping (QM) bias correction technique utilizing available observations during 1996-2012 was used to ameliorate any model biases in wind speed, temperature and relative humidity. Extensive evaluation was undertaken including both quantitative and case study qualitative assessments. The final dataset includes 4-km surface hourly temperature, relative humidity,wind speed, wind direction, Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI), and daily DF and Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), and a 32-level full three-dimensional volume atmosphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-313
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Southern Hemisphere Earth Systems Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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