Climate Adaptation Science Centers

Drought, Fire and Extreme Weather

 

Droughts, fires, and extreme weather events like hurricanes have become more common and more devastating in recent years. CASC-supported scientists are working to understand how these phenomenon are affecting important natural and cultural resources and how they will continue to change over time. Browse our projects below or use our Project Explorer database to explore more science on this topic.

Project Explorer: Drought, Fire and Extreme Weather

Drought

Drought

Droughts of the future will be hotter, longer-lasting, and larger than droughts of the past. CASC researchers are working to understand how these droughts will impact important natural resources across the country.

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Fire

Fire

Fire seasons are becoming longer and more intense across the United States. The CASCs work with partners to develop knowledge of region-specific drivers of wildfires and facilitate ecosystem recovery post-fire.  

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Extreme Weather

Extreme Weather

Climate change can intensify extreme weather events such as hurricanes, blizzards, and floods. The CASCs produce science to understand and predict extreme weather events and help develop strategies for protecting communities and ecosystems.

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Filter Total Items: 125
Date published: January 1, 2021
Status: Active

The Fire Within Us

Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples across California have maintained a relationship with fire to protect and care for the land. Utilizing burning practices passed down across generations fire was intentionally implemented to steward the landscape, cultivate food, fiber, and medicine, and reduce fuel loads that can set the stage for extreme fire events. Suppressive western fire...

Date published: January 1, 2021
Status: Active

Landscape Management Practices on the Pueblo de San Ildefonso

The Pueblo de San Ildefonso is facing increased wildfire risk under climate change. Recent fires have not only burned culturally significant sites, but they have also resulted in a loss of watershed runoff retention, which has increased erosion and the transport of contaminated sediments and soils on Pueblo lands from the adjacent Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). A priority for the...

Date published: January 1, 2021
Status: Active

Estimating the Future Effects of Forest Disturbance on Snow Water Resources in a Changing Environment

In the Western U.S., approximately 65% of the water supply comes from forested regions with most of the water that feeds local rivers coming from snowmelt that originates in mountain forests. The Rio Grande headwaters (I.e. the primary water generating region of the Rio Grande river) is experiencing large changes to the landscape primarily from forest fires and bark beetle infestations....

Date published: January 1, 2021
Status: Active

Assessing Direct and Indirect Effects of Climate on Wild Turkeys Across the Southeastern U.S.

Wild turkey is a culturally and economically important game species that has shown dramatic population declines throughout much of the southeastern U.S. A possible explanation for these declines is that the timing of nesting has shifted to earlier in the year while hunting seasons have remained the same. Wild turkeys are the only gamebird in the contiguous United States that are hunted during...

Date published: January 1, 2020
Status: Active

Vulnerability of Lower-Elevation Aspen Forests to Altered Fire and Climate Dynamics: Assessing Risks and Developing Actionable Science

Aspen forests are considered keystone ecosystems, meaning that loss of aspen habitat would result in negative impacts to numerous plant and animal species. Aspen also provide important economic and social benefits, including drawing tourists, serving as potential fire breaks, improving local economies, and providing forage for wildlife and livestock. Ecologically-valuable aspen forests are...

Contacts: Susan K McIlroy
Date published: January 1, 2020
Status: Active

Understanding Impacts on Southeastern Grasslands from Climate Change, Urban Expansion, and Invasive Species

Much of the biodiversity of the southeastern U.S. is found in grasslands, including meadows, prairies, glades, and savannas. These grasslands provide vital habitat to a variety of plants and animals, but many grassland types have undergone over 90% loss due to fire suppression and urban sprawl. The remaining grassland patches—remnants—now face emerging threats from invasive species and climate...

Date published: January 1, 2020
Status: Active

Tracking Forest and Hydrological Resilience to Compound Stressors in Burned Forests Under a Changing Climate

In the Northern Rockies, the annual area burned by wildfires has risen sharply in recent decades and is expected to continue growing. As a result, burned forests increasingly comprise a significant portion of the land base. However, burned areas represent a difficult paradox for land managers, especially in the context of other climate-linked disturbances (e.g., droughts, bark beetle outbreaks...

Date published: January 1, 2020
Status: Active

Science to Inform Post-fire Conifer Regeneration and Reforestation Strategies Under Changing Climate Conditions

Climate change is causing an increase in the amount of forested area burned by wildfires in the western U.S. The warm, dry post-fire conditions of the region may limit tree regeneration in some areas, potentially causing a shift to non-forest vegetation. Managers are increasingly challenged by the combined impacts of greater wildfire activity, the significant uncertainty about whether forests...

Date published: January 1, 2020
Status: Active

Science to Help Move From Mortality to Recovery in Western Forests and Woodlands

Healthy forests and woodlands in the western United States provide many important benefits, including providing habitat for wildlife, forage for livestock, and clean water for fish and human use. Yet climate change and other stressors, from wildfires and insect attacks to severe droughts, are causing unprecedented tree die offs across the region, threatening many of these ecosystem services....

Date published: January 1, 2020
Status: Active

Scaling up the Hawai‘i Drought Knowledge Exchange: Expanding Stakeholder Reach and Capacity to Address Climate Change, Variability, and Drought

The Hawai‘i Drought Knowledge Exchange project has been successfully piloting three sets of formal collaborative knowledge exchanges between researchers and managers to co-produce customized, site specific drought data products to meet the needs of their partners. Through these pilots, knowledge co-production has demonstrated how active collaboration between researchers and managers in the...

Date published: January 1, 2020
Status: Active

Preliminary Investigation of Machine Learning Approaches to Improve Projections of Future Climate in Hawai‘i

Detailed, reliable projections of future changes in climate are needed by Hawai‘i’s resource managers, such as water utilities managers, land managers, conservation organizations, and decision makers. However, global climate models (or “general circulation models”), which are currently the most commonly used tool for projecting future climate variations, are known for representing large-scale...

Date published: January 1, 2020
Status: Active

Malo‘o ka lani, wela ka honua (When the sky is dry, the earth is parched): Investigating the Cultural Dimensions of Indigenous Local Knowledge Responses to Changing Climate Conditions

Hawai‘i’s isolation, paired with limited water resources, make the archipelago sensitive to reductions in water availability. Drought can take different forms, varying across Island geographies with respect to frequency, intensity, duration, and extent. A drought event can exert hydrological, agricultural, ecological, and socio-economic impacts – and these impacts have been growing over the...