Publish Date: December 18, 2023

Climate Change Will Affect Fire Weather Danger in Indian Forests: Study

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New Delhi: Human activity is causing the earth’s climate to change in unprecedented ways. Atmospheric temperatures are rising rapidly and will continue to rise in the future. These warming temperatures will increase the fire weather danger in many Indian forests, according to a recent study by IIT Delhi.

IIT Delhi researchers developed a very high-resolution data set of future climate projections and used that data to calculate the Fire Weather Index (FWI) for forest regions of India. The results showed that forests in Central and South India and the Himalayan region will see significant increases in FWI by the end of the century. The fire season in these regions will also increase by 12-61 days.

These findings align well with the conventional wisdom that higher temperatures increase forest fire hazard. Interestingly, the study showed that not to be the case in all forests. Humid tropical forests in the Western Ghats and parts of the North-East, where rainfall and humidity are projected to rise, will experience lower FWI despite the warming.

Dr. Somnath Baidya Roy, Professor and Head of the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, and a co-author of the study, said, “We must study forest fires in India at a high degree of granularity to properly represent the diversity in climate and forest types across the country. Course resolution global scale studies simply don’t work for us.”

Anasuya Barik, PhD student at the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences and the lead author of the study, said, “Our study is the first of its kind in India and has significant implications for understanding and managing forest fires. Our study shows that we need to develop fire danger thresholds and management policies at local levels instead of national levels.”

The study was published in Communications Earth and Environment, a highly ranked journal from the Nature Springer group and is available online at


(EMAIL- Dr. Somnath Baidya Roy, Professor and Head of the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, IIT Delhi: