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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

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
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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
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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
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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
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Quantifying Future Precipitation in the South Central U.S. for Water Resources Planning

The South Central U.S. is home to diverse climates and ecosystems, strong agricultural and energy sectors, and fast-growing urban areas. All share a critical need for water, which is becoming an increasingly scarce resource across the region as aquifers are overdrawn and populations grow. Understanding what brings rain to this region, and how the timing and amount of precipitation may be affected
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Quantifying Future Precipitation in the South Central U.S. for Water Resources Planning

The South Central U.S. is home to diverse climates and ecosystems, strong agricultural and energy sectors, and fast-growing urban areas. All share a critical need for water, which is becoming an increasingly scarce resource across the region as aquifers are overdrawn and populations grow. Understanding what brings rain to this region, and how the timing and amount of precipitation may be affected
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Relations Among Cheatgrass, Fire, Climate, and Sensitive-Status Birds across the Great Basin

The distribution and abundance of cheatgrass, an invasive annual grass native to Eurasia, has increased substantially across the Intermountain West, including the Great Basin. Cheatgrass is highly flammable, and as it has expanded, the extent and frequency of fire in the Great Basin has increased by as much as 200%. These changes in fire regimes are associated with loss of the native sagebrush, gr
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Relations Among Cheatgrass, Fire, Climate, and Sensitive-Status Birds across the Great Basin

The distribution and abundance of cheatgrass, an invasive annual grass native to Eurasia, has increased substantially across the Intermountain West, including the Great Basin. Cheatgrass is highly flammable, and as it has expanded, the extent and frequency of fire in the Great Basin has increased by as much as 200%. These changes in fire regimes are associated with loss of the native sagebrush, gr
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Soil Moisture-Based Drought Monitoring for the South Central Region

Soil moisture is a critical variable for understanding the impacts of drought on ecological, hydrological, and agricultural systems. Yet, key research gaps currently prevent existing soil moisture measurements from being used to assess drought conditions and mitigate drought impacts such as wildfire outbreaks, lost agricultural production, and degraded wildlife habitat. In fact, most scales used t
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Soil Moisture-Based Drought Monitoring for the South Central Region

Soil moisture is a critical variable for understanding the impacts of drought on ecological, hydrological, and agricultural systems. Yet, key research gaps currently prevent existing soil moisture measurements from being used to assess drought conditions and mitigate drought impacts such as wildfire outbreaks, lost agricultural production, and degraded wildlife habitat. In fact, most scales used t
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Ecological Drought: Assessing Vulnerability and Developing Solutions for People and Nature

As global temperatures continue to rise, the frequency and severity of droughts in North America are expected to increase, leading to a wide range of social and ecological impacts. Identifying these impacts and the consequences for ecosystems and human communities are essential for effective drought management. Equally important is to improve the capacity of nature and people to prepare for and co
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Ecological Drought: Assessing Vulnerability and Developing Solutions for People and Nature

As global temperatures continue to rise, the frequency and severity of droughts in North America are expected to increase, leading to a wide range of social and ecological impacts. Identifying these impacts and the consequences for ecosystems and human communities are essential for effective drought management. Equally important is to improve the capacity of nature and people to prepare for and co
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Fighting Drought with Fire: A Comparison of Burned and Unburned Forests in Drought-Impacted Areas of the Southwest

Drought is one of the biggest threats facing our forests today. In the western U.S., severe drought and rising temperatures have caused increased tree mortality and complete forest diebacks. Forests are changing rapidly, and while land managers are working to develop long-term climate change adaptation plans, they require tools that can enhance forest resistance to drought now. To address this imm
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Fighting Drought with Fire: A Comparison of Burned and Unburned Forests in Drought-Impacted Areas of the Southwest

Drought is one of the biggest threats facing our forests today. In the western U.S., severe drought and rising temperatures have caused increased tree mortality and complete forest diebacks. Forests are changing rapidly, and while land managers are working to develop long-term climate change adaptation plans, they require tools that can enhance forest resistance to drought now. To address this imm
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Helping Fire Professionals Understand and Manage Changing Fire Regimes

Fire is a natural and necessary component of the South Central Plains ecosystem. However, fire suppression and more frequent droughts in the region have resulted in a build-up of dry fuels loads such as dead wood, resulting in fires that burn hotter and impact the landscape more severely. Uncontrolled wildfires have cost the region several billion dollars over the past five years. Further, fire su
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Helping Fire Professionals Understand and Manage Changing Fire Regimes

Fire is a natural and necessary component of the South Central Plains ecosystem. However, fire suppression and more frequent droughts in the region have resulted in a build-up of dry fuels loads such as dead wood, resulting in fires that burn hotter and impact the landscape more severely. Uncontrolled wildfires have cost the region several billion dollars over the past five years. Further, fire su
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Influences of Climate Change, Climate Variability, and Drought on Human Communities and Ecosystems in Hawaiʻi

Over the past century, Hawaiʻi has experienced a pronounced decline in precipitation and stream flow and a number of severe droughts. These changes can have wide-reaching implications, affecting the water supply, native vegetation and wildlife, wildfire patterns, and the spread of invasive species. Several climate-related factors are influencing Hawaiˈi’s landscapes and contributing to these chang...
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Influences of Climate Change, Climate Variability, and Drought on Human Communities and Ecosystems in Hawaiʻi

Over the past century, Hawaiʻi has experienced a pronounced decline in precipitation and stream flow and a number of severe droughts. These changes can have wide-reaching implications, affecting the water supply, native vegetation and wildlife, wildfire patterns, and the spread of invasive species. Several climate-related factors are influencing Hawaiˈi’s landscapes and contributing to these chang...
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Informing and Evaluating Forest Management Strategies to Promote Drought Resistance

Severe droughts cause widespread tree mortality and decreased growth in forests across the globe—even in areas with cooler climates. Mitigating the negative effects of climate change, in particular increased drought frequency and severity, poses a major challenge to forest managers. Managers are searching for strategies that minimize the negative effects of drought on forests (i.e. increase their
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Informing and Evaluating Forest Management Strategies to Promote Drought Resistance

Severe droughts cause widespread tree mortality and decreased growth in forests across the globe—even in areas with cooler climates. Mitigating the negative effects of climate change, in particular increased drought frequency and severity, poses a major challenge to forest managers. Managers are searching for strategies that minimize the negative effects of drought on forests (i.e. increase their
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Assessing the Impacts of Drought on Migratory Waterbirds in Key Conservation Regions of the Western U.S.

Migratory birds may be hit especially hard by climate change – particularly waterbirds that depend on wetlands as resting and feeding sites during their journey between breeding and non-breeding grounds. California’s Central Valley and the interior basins of southeastern Oregon and northeastern California provide some of the most critical wetlands resources to migratory waterbirds in the western U...
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Assessing the Impacts of Drought on Migratory Waterbirds in Key Conservation Regions of the Western U.S.

Migratory birds may be hit especially hard by climate change – particularly waterbirds that depend on wetlands as resting and feeding sites during their journey between breeding and non-breeding grounds. California’s Central Valley and the interior basins of southeastern Oregon and northeastern California provide some of the most critical wetlands resources to migratory waterbirds in the western U...
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Assessing the Vulnerability of Dryland Ecosystems to Drought in the Western U.S.

In the western U.S., rising temperatures and pronounced drought conditions pose significant challenges to public land managers. Widespread declines of multiple plant species have already been observed, providing insight into what the future could look like for vegetation in the region as conditions are projected to become warmer and drier. To understand how vulnerable western ecosystems are to dro
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Assessing the Vulnerability of Dryland Ecosystems to Drought in the Western U.S.

In the western U.S., rising temperatures and pronounced drought conditions pose significant challenges to public land managers. Widespread declines of multiple plant species have already been observed, providing insight into what the future could look like for vegetation in the region as conditions are projected to become warmer and drier. To understand how vulnerable western ecosystems are to dro
Learn More