New drought research published by the CPO-funded investigator Rong Fu (UCLA), who is supported through the MAPP and NIDIS collaboration was referenced at the House Science Committee on Tuesday, November 16th. Congressman Casten from Illinois referenced the new research on vapor pressure deficit and climate change contributing to wildfires. The reference was used to support his amendment for a study from the NASEM on the interaction between climate change and wildfires.
This new study, authored by Yizhou Zhuang, Rong Fu, Benjamin D. Santer, Alex Hall, and Robert Dickinson shows that climate change is the main driver of increasing fire weather in the Western U.S. And even though wetter and cooler conditions could offer brief relief, more intense and frequent wildfires and aridification in the western states will continue with rising temperatures, a finding recently highlighted in a major Drought Task Force report covering the ongoing drought in the Southwest United States. The research study was also highlighted in almost two dozen news outlets.
This project is part of a number of projects that are oriented around complex fire-drought interactions in the current MAPP and NIDIS Drought Task Force. This Task Force was organized to coordinate the activities of researchers supported through the MAPP/NIDIS Fiscal Year 2020 grant competition "Characterizing and Anticipating U.S. Droughts’ Complex Interactions” and was created and the goal of this research initiative is to advance the understanding of drought causes and predictability as well as drought modeling, prediction, and monitoring capabilities. This initiative builds on three previous MAPP Drought Task Force efforts, and decades of preceding research on drought, hydroclimate, and related modeling.
Funding for this project was provided by the NOAA Climate Program Office, MAPP program and National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).
Read the full study here.