International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire

A Synoptic Climatology for Forest-Fires in the NE US and Future Implications From GCM Simulations

ES Takle, DJ Bramer, WE Heilman and MR Thompson

International Journal of Wildland Fire 4(4) 217 - 224
Published: 1994


We studied surface-pressure patterns corresponding to reduced precipitation, high evaporation potential, and enhanced forest-fire danger for West Virginia, which experienced extensive forest-fire damage in November 1987. From five years of daily weather maps we identified eight weather patterns that describe distinctive flow situations throughout the year. Map patterns labeled extended-high, back-of-high, and pre-high were the most frequently occurring patterns that accompany forest fires in West Virginia and the nearby four-stare region. Of these, back-of-high accounted for a disproportionately large amount of fire-related damage. Examination of evaporation acid precipitation data showed that these three patterns and high-to-the-south patterns ail led to drying conditions and all other patterns led to moistening conditions. Surface-pressure fields generated by the Canadian Climate Centre global circulation model for simulations of the present (1xCO2) climate and 2xCO2 climate were studied to determine whether forest-fire potential would change under increased atmospheric CO2. The analysis showed a tendency for increased frequency of drying in the NE US, but the results were not statistically significant.

© IAWF 1994

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