Skip to main content

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: 124

The Effects of Wildfire on Snow Water Resources under Multiple Climate Conditions

The Colorado and Rio Grande Rivers provide drinking water to millions of people in the Southwest and South Central U.S. Snowmelt accounts for 70% of streamflow in these rivers, meaning that water use downstream is directly impacted by snow accumulation and snowmelt patterns in the mountains. Mountain forests are a critical part of the hydrologic cycle that feeds these rivers, providing water suppl
link

The Effects of Wildfire on Snow Water Resources under Multiple Climate Conditions

The Colorado and Rio Grande Rivers provide drinking water to millions of people in the Southwest and South Central U.S. Snowmelt accounts for 70% of streamflow in these rivers, meaning that water use downstream is directly impacted by snow accumulation and snowmelt patterns in the mountains. Mountain forests are a critical part of the hydrologic cycle that feeds these rivers, providing water suppl
Learn More

Changing Fires, Changing Forests: The Effects of Climate Change on Wildfire Patterns and Forests in the Pacific Northwest

As the dominant force that sets the structure and function of most Pacific Northwest forests, fire is likely to be the major catalyst of forest change in a warming climate. Rising temperatures, decreased snowpack, and earlier snowmelt are expected to lead to longer fire seasons, drier fuel, and an increase in the area burned by wildfires in the future. Forest managers therefore need information on
link

Changing Fires, Changing Forests: The Effects of Climate Change on Wildfire Patterns and Forests in the Pacific Northwest

As the dominant force that sets the structure and function of most Pacific Northwest forests, fire is likely to be the major catalyst of forest change in a warming climate. Rising temperatures, decreased snowpack, and earlier snowmelt are expected to lead to longer fire seasons, drier fuel, and an increase in the area burned by wildfires in the future. Forest managers therefore need information on
Learn More

Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests

Forests are of tremendous ecological and economic importance. They provide natural places for recreation, clean drinking water, and important habitats for fish and wildlife. However, the warmer temperatures and harsher droughts in the west that are related to climate change are causing die-offs of many trees. Outbreaks of insects, like the mountain pine beetle, that kill trees are also more likely
link

Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests

Forests are of tremendous ecological and economic importance. They provide natural places for recreation, clean drinking water, and important habitats for fish and wildlife. However, the warmer temperatures and harsher droughts in the west that are related to climate change are causing die-offs of many trees. Outbreaks of insects, like the mountain pine beetle, that kill trees are also more likely
Learn More

Leaf to Landscape: Understanding and Mapping the Vulnerability of Forests to Hotter Droughts

Forests across the southwestern U.S. are crucial components of recreation and play an important role in state and local economies. Healthy forests also provide needed habitat for many wildlife species and contribute many other important services to our planet. “Hotter droughts” (otherwise normal droughts whose effects on ecosystems are exacerbated by higher temperatures) are an emerging climate ch...
link

Leaf to Landscape: Understanding and Mapping the Vulnerability of Forests to Hotter Droughts

Forests across the southwestern U.S. are crucial components of recreation and play an important role in state and local economies. Healthy forests also provide needed habitat for many wildlife species and contribute many other important services to our planet. “Hotter droughts” (otherwise normal droughts whose effects on ecosystems are exacerbated by higher temperatures) are an emerging climate ch...
Learn More

Identifying Critical Thresholds and Tipping Points for Priority Coastal Species in a Changing Future

A large portion of the U.S. population lives in coastal areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and the Caribbean; however, our coasts are also home to many fish, wildlife, and plant species that are important for recreation, tourism, local economies, biodiversity, and healthy coastal ecosystems. Coastal habitats also provide protective ecosystem services to human communities, which are increasin
link

Identifying Critical Thresholds and Tipping Points for Priority Coastal Species in a Changing Future

A large portion of the U.S. population lives in coastal areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and the Caribbean; however, our coasts are also home to many fish, wildlife, and plant species that are important for recreation, tourism, local economies, biodiversity, and healthy coastal ecosystems. Coastal habitats also provide protective ecosystem services to human communities, which are increasin
Learn More

Examining the Responses of Species to Climate Change: Will Wildlife Face Biological Thresholds?

Historical and projected climate data point toward significant changes in the future for the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. These changes will include impacts to many species (like birds, fish, and mammals), ecosystems (like forests), and natural resources (like water) that humans appreciate and rely on. In order to prepare for these changes, land and resource managers need to be able to predic
link

Examining the Responses of Species to Climate Change: Will Wildlife Face Biological Thresholds?

Historical and projected climate data point toward significant changes in the future for the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. These changes will include impacts to many species (like birds, fish, and mammals), ecosystems (like forests), and natural resources (like water) that humans appreciate and rely on. In order to prepare for these changes, land and resource managers need to be able to predic
Learn More

Identifying and Evaluating Refugia from Drought and Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

Warmer temperatures and less precipitation in the western U.S. related to climate change are harming many important natural resources, including forests, rivers, and many fish and wildlife species. Climate refugia provide a potential opportunity for conserving resources and biodiversity in the face of climate change. These refugia are places where the climate will likely change less than the surro
link

Identifying and Evaluating Refugia from Drought and Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

Warmer temperatures and less precipitation in the western U.S. related to climate change are harming many important natural resources, including forests, rivers, and many fish and wildlife species. Climate refugia provide a potential opportunity for conserving resources and biodiversity in the face of climate change. These refugia are places where the climate will likely change less than the surro
Learn More

Effects of Drought on Soil Moisture and Water Resources in Hawai‘i

Droughts in the Hawaiian Islands can enhance wildfire risk, diminish freshwater resources, and devastate threatened and endangered species on land and in nearshore ecosystems. During periods of drought, cloud-water interception, or fog drip (the process by which water droplets accumulate on the leaves and branches of plants and then drip to the ground) in Hawai‘i’s rain forests may play an importa...
link

Effects of Drought on Soil Moisture and Water Resources in Hawai‘i

Droughts in the Hawaiian Islands can enhance wildfire risk, diminish freshwater resources, and devastate threatened and endangered species on land and in nearshore ecosystems. During periods of drought, cloud-water interception, or fog drip (the process by which water droplets accumulate on the leaves and branches of plants and then drip to the ground) in Hawai‘i’s rain forests may play an importa...
Learn More

Snow Drought: Recognizing and Understanding its Impacts in Alaska

In Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, snow plays a crucial role in atmospheric and hydrologic systems and has a major influence on the health and function of regional ecosystems. Warming temperatures may have a significant impact on snow and may therefore affect the entire water cycle of the region. A decrease in precipitation in the form of snow, or “snow drought”, can manifest in several ways includ...
link

Snow Drought: Recognizing and Understanding its Impacts in Alaska

In Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, snow plays a crucial role in atmospheric and hydrologic systems and has a major influence on the health and function of regional ecosystems. Warming temperatures may have a significant impact on snow and may therefore affect the entire water cycle of the region. A decrease in precipitation in the form of snow, or “snow drought”, can manifest in several ways includ...
Learn More

Eco-drought Actionable Science Working Group

The USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) is currently engaged in an Ecological Drought initiative, focused on understanding the impacts of drought on natural ecosystems across the country. This project was designed to support the Ecological Drought initiative by creating a USGS EcoDrought Actionable Science Working Group. The goal of this working group was to identify
link

Eco-drought Actionable Science Working Group

The USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) is currently engaged in an Ecological Drought initiative, focused on understanding the impacts of drought on natural ecosystems across the country. This project was designed to support the Ecological Drought initiative by creating a USGS EcoDrought Actionable Science Working Group. The goal of this working group was to identify
Learn More

Assessing the Use of Biochar for Drought Resilience and Crop Productivity

Climate change impacts on water resources in the Pacific Northwest are predicted to have transformational effects on agriculture. Loss of winter snow pack, reduced summer stream flows, and increased summer temperatures are all phenomena that have already been observed, and are expected to worsen over this century. Research is ongoing in the Northwest to understand agriculture practices that might
link

Assessing the Use of Biochar for Drought Resilience and Crop Productivity

Climate change impacts on water resources in the Pacific Northwest are predicted to have transformational effects on agriculture. Loss of winter snow pack, reduced summer stream flows, and increased summer temperatures are all phenomena that have already been observed, and are expected to worsen over this century. Research is ongoing in the Northwest to understand agriculture practices that might
Learn More

How and Why Upper Colorado River Basin Land, Water, and Fire Managers Choose to Use Drought Tools

Preparing for and responding to drought requires integrating scientific information into complex decision making processes. In recognition of this challenge, regional drought early warning systems (DEWS) and related drought-information tools have been developed under the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). Despite the existence of many tools and information sources, however, th
link

How and Why Upper Colorado River Basin Land, Water, and Fire Managers Choose to Use Drought Tools

Preparing for and responding to drought requires integrating scientific information into complex decision making processes. In recognition of this challenge, regional drought early warning systems (DEWS) and related drought-information tools have been developed under the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). Despite the existence of many tools and information sources, however, th
Learn More