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Climate Change and Wildfire in the Sierra Nevada

Anthony Westerling, School of Engineering, UC Merced
Mar 07, 2011 from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (America/Los_Angeles / UTC-800)
1130 K Street, Room LL3
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Wildfire burned area is projected to increase significantly (> 100%) over much of the Sierra Nevada across a wide range of climate scenarios.  While large percentage increases in burned area are likely to occur in Federal forest areas, the greatest absolute increases in burned area are projected for lands between 2000 and 6000 feet in elevation on the west side of the Sierras.    This would expose many privately owned lands in the Sierra Nevada foothills to a substantially increased threat of wildfire.  This is also an area of the state that has seen rapid, low-density growth in recent decades.  A continuation of these trends could potentially increase the state's economic vulnerability to climate change impacts on wildfire.

Dr. Anthony Westerling is an Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering and Geography at UC Merced.  Prior to coming to UC Merced, he spent six years in the Climate Research Division of Scripps Institution of Oceanography as a Post-graduate Researcher and an Assistant Project Scientist. His research interests include applied climatology and seasonal forecasting for wildfire management, climate change impacts on wildfire and related aspects of mountain hydrology, and paleo reconstructions of climate-wildfire interactions.  Dr. Westerling holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles; and a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego.  He has published extensively on wildfire and climate.



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