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Observed Impacts of Anthropogenic Climate Change on Wildfire in California

Williams A.P., J.T. Abatzoglou, A. Gershunov, J. Guzman Morales, D.A. Bishop and D.P. Lettenmaier, 2019: The link between anthropogenic climate change and wildfire in CaliforniaEarth’s Future, 7.

This work presents an assessment of the observed trends in wildfire activity over several fire-prone eco-regions of California and an attempt to understand the mechanisms of change. As you can imagine, the story varies across eco-regions/climate zones. The link to anthropogenic climate change is clear for forested landscapes of the Sierra Nevada and Northern California via warming-driven drying. The relationship of fall wildfires with global climate change in Southern California, and the coastal zone in general, is more complex and less clear at present, but warming-driven drying and delayed onset of the rainy season (both outcomes of climate change) are expected to boost wildfire activity in coastal California as well.  The Atlantic highlighted results of this paper:

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