Prediction of september-december fire in New Caledonia (Southwestern Pacific) using July Niño-4 sea surface temperature index

Vincent Moron, Renaud Barbero, Morgan Mangeas, Laurent Borgniet, Thomas Curt, Laure Berti-Equille

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An empirical statistical scheme for predicting September-December fires in New Caledonia in the southwestern Pacific Ocean region using a cross-validated generalized linear model has been developed for the 2000-10 period. The predictor employs July sea surface temperatures (SST) recorded over the Niño-4 box (58S-58N, 1608-2108E), which are closely related to austral spring (September-November) rainfall anomalies across New Caledonia. The correlation between the logarithm of observed and simulated total burned areas across New Caledonia is 0.87. A decrease in the local-scale skill (median correlation between the log of observed and simulated total burned areas in a 20-km radius around a rain gauge 5 0.46) around the main town (Nouméa) and its suburbs in the southwest of Grande Terre, and also in northern New Caledonia, could be associated either with a weaker climatic forcing from the Niño-4 SST index or a small-scale climatic forcing not linearly related to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. It is more likely that the decrease is tied to the influence of human-driven factors that blur the regional-scale climatic signal mostly associated with central Pacific ENSO events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-633
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • ENSO
  • Forest fires
  • Seasonal forecasting
  • South Pacific Ocean
  • Statistical forecasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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