Liu, Yongqiang

Geophysical Research Letters

Published date November 8, 2006

North Pacific warming and intense northwestern U.S. wildfires

  • States that tropical Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies such as La Nina have been an important predictor for wildfires in the southeastern and southwestern U.S
  • Seeks seasonal predictors for wildfires in the northwestern U.S., a region with the most intense wildfires among various continental U.S. regions
  • Applies singular value decomposition and regression techniques to summer wildfire and current and antecedent SST conditions during a period of 23 years
  • Finds that warming in the North Pacific is a major feature in the SST spatial pattern related to intense Northwest wildfires
  • Finds that the warming appeared in all the major wildfire events during the past two decades and that the relation is statistically significant
  • Concludes that the North Pacific SST has potential to be a predictor for seasonal Northwest wildfires