Explore projected changes in average area burned by wildfires for California.
- This chart shows modeled annual averages of area burned for the selected area on map under the RCP 4.5 scenario.
Four models have been selected by California’s Climate Action Team Research Working Group as priority models for research contributing to California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. Projected future climate from these four models can be described as producing:
- A warm/dry simulation (HadGEM2-ES)
- A cooler/wetter simulation (CNRM-CM5)
- An average simulation (CanESM2)
- The model simulation that is most unlike the first three for the best coverage of different possibilities (MIROC5)
- Use year sliders to get means for different time periods. The projected mean is calculated for all visible models in the chart. Use slider below the chart to zoom and pan within the chart.
Wildfire is a serious hazard in California. Several studies have indicating that the risk of wildfire will increase with climate change. This tool explores wildfire scenario projections done by Dr. LeRoy Westerling at the University of California Merced, using a statistical model based on historical data of climate, vegetation, population density, and fire history coupled with regionally downscaled LOCA climate projections.
The fire modeling ran simulations on following five variables on a monthly time step:
- Large fire presence/absence
- Number of fires given presence
- Area burned in a grid cell given a fire
- High severity burned area given a fire
Details are described in Westerling et al., forthcoming [4th Assessment report or white paper].
Wildfire Scenario Projections in California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment
Wildfire scenario projections were done by Dr. LeRoy Westerling at the University of California Merced, based on statistical modeling from historical data of climate, vegetation, population density, and fire history. The fire modeling ran simulations on five variables on a monthly time step - Large fire presence/absence, Number of fires given presence, Area burned in a grid cell given a fire, High severity burned area given a fire and Emissions. The modeling used the LOCA climate projections as inputs and therefore is considered as secondary scenarios in the Fourth Assessment. Details are described in Westerling et al., forthcoming [4th Assessment report or white paper].