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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Nicole Mölders
Publication Date: 2008

Standard indices used in the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) and Fosberg fire-weather indices are calculated from Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model simulations and observations in interior Alaska for June 2005. Evaluation shows that WRF is well suited for fire-weather prediction in a boreal forest environment at all forecast leads and on an ensemble average. Errors in meteorological quantities and fire indices marginally depend on forecast lead. WRF’s precipitation performance for interior Alaska is comparable to that of other mesoscale models applied to midlatitudes. WRF underestimates precipitation on average, but satisfactorily predicts precipitation ≥7.5 mm day−1, the threshold considered to reduce interior Alaska’s fire risk for several days. WRF slightly overestimates wind speed, but captures the temporal mean behavior accurately. WRF predicts the temporal evolution of daily temperature extremes, mean relative humidity, air and dewpoint temperature, and daily accumulated shortwave radiation well. Daily minimum (maximum) temperature and relative humidity are slightly overestimated (underestimated). Fire index trends are suitably predicted. Fire indices derived from daily mean predicted meteorological quantities are more reliable than those based on predicted daily extremes. Indirect evaluation by observed fires suggests that WRF-derived NFDRS indices reflect the variability of fire activity.

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Citation: Mölders, Nicole. 2008. Suitability of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to predict the June 2005 fire weather for interior Alaska. Weather and Forecasting 23(5):953-973.

Cataloging Information

  • fire weather indices
  • humidity
  • Interior Alaska
  • NFDRS - National Fire Danger Rating System
  • precipitation
  • temperature
  • weather prediction
  • WRF - Weather Research and Forecasting
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Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 23862