Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Summer Rainfall Declines ‘Primary Driver’ of Surge in US Wildfires

Sharp declines in summer rainfall could be a “primary driver” of the record-breaking wildfires ripping across the western US, research shows.

Using satellite data, the study finds that there have been “previously unnoted” declines in summer rainfall across close to a third of forests in the western US over the past four decades.  These declines are “strongly correlated” with wildfire increases, the study finds.

It is likely that climate change has played a role in the diminishing rains, the lead author tells Carbon Brief.  However, it is still not clear to what extent global warming – over natural climate variability – is to blame.

The findings suggest that the role of declining rainfall in worsening wildfires has been previously “overlooked” in comparison to other major drivers such as rising temperatures, the author adds.

Read more at Summer Rainfall Declines ‘Primary Driver’ of Surge in US Wildfires

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