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  1. Abstract Earth’s forests face grave challenges in the Anthropocene, including hotter droughts increasingly associated with widespread forest die-off events. But despite the vital importance of forests to global ecosystem services, their fates in a warming world remain highly uncertain. Lacking is quantitative determination of commonality in climate anomalies associated with pulses of tree mortality—from published, field-documented mortality events—required for understanding the role of extreme climate events in overall global tree die-off patterns. Here we established a geo-referenced global database documenting climate-induced mortality events spanning all tree-supporting biomes and continents, from 154 peer-reviewed studies since 1970. Our analysis quantifies a global “hotter-drought fingerprint” from these tree-mortality sites—effectively a hotter and drier climate signal for tree mortality—across 675 locations encompassing 1,303 plots. Frequency of these observed mortality-year climate conditions strongly increases nonlinearly under projected warming. Our database also provides initial footing for further community-developed, quantitative, ground-based monitoring of global tree mortality.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Changing global fire regimes including extended fire seasons due to climate change may increase the co-occurrence of high-impact fires that overwhelm national fire suppression capacities. These shifts increase the demand for international resource sharing to supplement national fire suppression efforts. In this paper, we explore the development and evaluate the effectiveness of international resource sharing arrangements of three regions: (1) The United States, Canada, and Australia (“Big Three”); (2) Europe; and (3) Southeast Asia by conducting a literature review of gray and peer- reviewed literature in combination with key informant interviews. For the “Big Three” and Europe, international resource sharing is perceived as necessary, effective, and continuously improving. Converging fire management processes and training and developing more effective administrative procedures facilitate these relationships. In Southeast Asia, political tensions and limited firefighting capacities have hampered effective cooperation. Formalized agreements of country-to-country support for fire management are nascent and evolving, and there is evidence that demand for expanding and improving these partnerships is increasing.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Lightning occurring with less than 2.5 mm of rainfall—typically referred to as ‘dry lightning’—is a major source of wildfire ignition in central and northern California. Despite being rare, dry lightning outbreaks have resulted in destructive fires in this region due to the intersection of dense, dry vegetation and a large population living adjacent to fire-prone lands. Since thunderstorms are much less common in this region relative to the interior West, the climatology and drivers of dry lightning have not been widely investigated in central and northern California. Using daily gridded lightning and precipitation observations (1987–2020) in combination with atmospheric reanalyses, we characterize the climatology of dry lightning and the associated meteorological conditions during the warm season (May–October) when wildfire risk is highest. Across the domain, nearly half (∼46%) of all cloud-to-ground lightning flashes occurred as dry lightning during the study period. We find that higher elevations (>2000 m) receive more dry lightning compared to lower elevations (<1000 m) with activity concentrated in July-August. Although local meteorological conditions show substantial spatial variation, we find regionwide enhancements in mid-tropospheric moisture and instability on dry lightning days relative to background climatology. Additionally, surface temperatures, lower-tropospheric dryness, and mid-tropospheric instability are increased acrossmore »the region on dry versus wet lightning days. We also identify widespread dry lightning outbreaks in the historical record, quantify their seasonality and spatial extent, and analyze associated large-scale atmospheric patterns. Three of these four atmospheric patterns are characterized by different configurations of ridging over the continental interior and offshore troughing. Understanding the meteorology of dry lightning across this region can inform forecasting of possible wildfire ignitions and is relevant for assessing changes in dry lightning and wildfire risk in climate projections.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 8, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 28, 2023
  5. Wildfires and meteorological conditions influence the co-occurrence of multiple harmful air pollutants including fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 ) and ground-level ozone. We examine the spatiotemporal characteristics of PM 2.5 /ozone co-occurrences and associated population exposure in the western United States (US). The frequency, spatial extent, and temporal persistence of extreme PM 2.5 /ozone co-occurrences have increased significantly between 2001 and 2020, increasing annual population exposure to multiple harmful air pollutants by ~25 million person-days/year. Using a clustering methodology to characterize daily weather patterns, we identify significant increases in atmospheric ridging patterns conducive to widespread PM 2.5 /ozone co-occurrences and population exposure. We further link the spatial extent of co-occurrence to the extent of extreme heat and wildfires. Our results suggest an increasing potential for co-occurring air pollution episodes in the western US with continued climate change.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 7, 2023
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 17, 2023
  9. Lawler, Joshua (Ed.)
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  10. Abstract

    Southern California is a biodiversity hotspot and home to over 23 million people. Over recent decades the annual wildfire area in the coastal southern California region has not significantly changed. Yet how fire regime will respond to future anthropogenic climate change remains an important question. Here, we estimate wildfire probability in southern California at station scale and daily resolution using random forest algorithms and downscaled earth system model simulations. We project that large fire days will increase from 36 days/year during 1970–1999 to 58 days/year under moderate greenhouse gas emission scenario (RCP4.5) and 71 days/year by 2070–2099 under a high emission scenario (RCP8.5). The large fire season will be more intense and have an earlier onset and delayed end. Our findings suggest that despite the lack of a contemporary trend in fire regime, projected greenhouse gas emissions will substantially increase the fire danger in southern California by 2099.