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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.

Filter Total Items: 123

Future of Fire: Towards a National Synthesis of Wildland Fire Under a Changing Climate

Abundant scientific research has characterized the relationships between climate and fire in ecosystems of the United States, and there is substantial evidence that the role of fire in ecosystems is likely to change with a changing climate. However, there is considerable local-to-regional heterogeneity in the observed and projected changes, driven by the historical and current patterns in fuel ava
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Future of Fire: Towards a National Synthesis of Wildland Fire Under a Changing Climate

Abundant scientific research has characterized the relationships between climate and fire in ecosystems of the United States, and there is substantial evidence that the role of fire in ecosystems is likely to change with a changing climate. However, there is considerable local-to-regional heterogeneity in the observed and projected changes, driven by the historical and current patterns in fuel ava
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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 conside
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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 conside
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Adapting to Climate Change: Trends and Severe Storm Responses by Migratory Landbirds and Their Habitats

Over two-thirds of all landbirds (i.e. birds that spend the majority of their lives in terrestrial environments) in North America migrate long-distances to areas in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean islands. Habitats within Texas and Louisiana support high numbers of birds when they interrupt their migratory journeys through the Gulf of Mexico region to “stopover” for resting and...
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Adapting to Climate Change: Trends and Severe Storm Responses by Migratory Landbirds and Their Habitats

Over two-thirds of all landbirds (i.e. birds that spend the majority of their lives in terrestrial environments) in North America migrate long-distances to areas in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean islands. Habitats within Texas and Louisiana support high numbers of birds when they interrupt their migratory journeys through the Gulf of Mexico region to “stopover” for resting and...
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Generating a Shoreline Inventory for Hawai‘i Island to Increase Resilience in the Face of Rising Sea Levels

Globally, shorelines provide a vital defense system against extreme weather and erosion events and are a critical public and cultural resource. Within the state of Hawaiʻi, coastal vulnerability and historic change has been well documented and studied on the Islands of Oʻahu, Maui, and Kauaʻi, but this has not been done for the Island of Hawaiʻi, the largest and most diverse island in the Hawaiian...
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Generating a Shoreline Inventory for Hawai‘i Island to Increase Resilience in the Face of Rising Sea Levels

Globally, shorelines provide a vital defense system against extreme weather and erosion events and are a critical public and cultural resource. Within the state of Hawaiʻi, coastal vulnerability and historic change has been well documented and studied on the Islands of Oʻahu, Maui, and Kauaʻi, but this has not been done for the Island of Hawaiʻi, the largest and most diverse island in the Hawaiian...
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Exploring Large Downed Wood as Post-Fire Refugia for Terrestrial Salamanders in Pacific Northwest Forests

Downed wood on the forest floor does more than provide habitat for amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. These decomposing habitat structures modify the temperature and moisture conditions in the forest itself. Inside and around downed wood, local climate conditions, or microclimates, provide wildlife with stable habitats that allow for persistence during and after wildfires. Cooler, wetter mic
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Exploring Large Downed Wood as Post-Fire Refugia for Terrestrial Salamanders in Pacific Northwest Forests

Downed wood on the forest floor does more than provide habitat for amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. These decomposing habitat structures modify the temperature and moisture conditions in the forest itself. Inside and around downed wood, local climate conditions, or microclimates, provide wildlife with stable habitats that allow for persistence during and after wildfires. Cooler, wetter mic
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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. Follo
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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. Follo
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Drought and Disturbances as Drivers of Long-Term Ecological Transformation and Risk

Forested areas in the Western U.S. that are impacted by disturbances such as fire and drought have increased in recent decades. This trend is likely to continue, with the increase in frequency and extent of wildfire activity being especially concerning. Resource managers need reliable scientific information to better understand wildfire occurrence, which can vary substantially across landscapes an
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Drought and Disturbances as Drivers of Long-Term Ecological Transformation and Risk

Forested areas in the Western U.S. that are impacted by disturbances such as fire and drought have increased in recent decades. This trend is likely to continue, with the increase in frequency and extent of wildfire activity being especially concerning. Resource managers need reliable scientific information to better understand wildfire occurrence, which can vary substantially across landscapes an
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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 past c...
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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 past c...
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A Climate-Informed Adaptation and Post-Fire Strategy for the Southwestern Region

The Southwest is projected to face significant climate challenges in coming decades; and many of these stresses have already begun. In recent years, multiple climate assessments have been developed for the Southwest that corroborate forecasts of remarkable change to vegetation pattern and the vulnerability of regional ecosystems and suggest that measurable change is already ongoing. Disturbance ev
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A Climate-Informed Adaptation and Post-Fire Strategy for the Southwestern Region

The Southwest is projected to face significant climate challenges in coming decades; and many of these stresses have already begun. In recent years, multiple climate assessments have been developed for the Southwest that corroborate forecasts of remarkable change to vegetation pattern and the vulnerability of regional ecosystems and suggest that measurable change is already ongoing. Disturbance ev
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A Climate Risk Management Screening and Assessment Review for Madagascar’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy

Madagascar, a country rich in natural capital and biodiversity but with high levels of poverty, food insecurity, and population growth, faces a number of development challenges, including obtaining sustained financial support from external sources and building internal capacity to address the poor environmental, health, and socio-economic conditions. Climate change poses an increasing threat to ac
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A Climate Risk Management Screening and Assessment Review for Madagascar’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy

Madagascar, a country rich in natural capital and biodiversity but with high levels of poverty, food insecurity, and population growth, faces a number of development challenges, including obtaining sustained financial support from external sources and building internal capacity to address the poor environmental, health, and socio-economic conditions. Climate change poses an increasing threat to ac
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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) th
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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) th
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Building Tools to Assess Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources of the Canadian River Basin

Several times during the severe drought of 2010-2015, communities within the jurisdictional territories of the Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma were precariously close to running out of water. According to previous studies, temperatures are expected to continue to rise throughout the southern states, and droughts are predicted to be longer and more severe. Even small changes to
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Building Tools to Assess Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources of the Canadian River Basin

Several times during the severe drought of 2010-2015, communities within the jurisdictional territories of the Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma were precariously close to running out of water. According to previous studies, temperatures are expected to continue to rise throughout the southern states, and droughts are predicted to be longer and more severe. Even small changes to
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