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Selection: Williams:AP [5 articles] 

Publications by author Williams:AP.

Switching on the Big Burn of 2017

Fire, Vol. 1, No. 1. (05 June 2018), 17,


Fuel, aridity, and ignition switches were all on in 2017, making it one of the largest and costliest wildfire years in the United States (U.S.) since national reporting began. Anthropogenic climate change helped flip on some of these switches rapidly in 2017, and kept them on for longer than usual. Anthropogenic changes to the fire environment will increase the likelihood of such record wildfire years in the coming decades. The 2017 wildfires in the U.S. constitute part of a shifting baseline ...


Impact of anthropogenic climate change on wildfire across western US forests

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (10 October 2016), 201607171,


[Significance] Increased forest fire activity across the western United States in recent decades has contributed to widespread forest mortality, carbon emissions, periods of degraded air quality, and substantial fire suppression expenditures. Although numerous factors aided the recent rise in fire activity, observed warming and drying have significantly increased fire-season fuel aridity, fostering a more favorable fire environment across forested systems. We demonstrate that human-caused climate change caused over half of the documented increases in fuel aridity since the 1970s and doubled the ...


Recent advances and remaining uncertainties in resolving past and future climate effects on global fire activity

Current Climate Change Reports, Vol. 2, No. 1. (2016), pp. 1-14,


Fire is an integral component of the Earth system that will critically affect how terrestrial carbon budgets and living systems respond to climate change. Paleo and observational records document robust positive relationships between fire activity and aridity in many parts of the world on interannual to millennial timescales. Observed increases in fire activity and aridity in many areas over the past several decades motivate curiosity as to the degree to which anthropogenic climate change will alter global fire regimes and subsequently ...


Correlations between components of the water balance and burned area reveal new insights for predicting forest fire area in the southwest United States

International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 24, No. 1. (2015), 14,


We related measurements of annual burned area in the southwest United States during 1984–2013 to records of climate variability. Within forests, annual burned area correlated at least as strongly with spring–summer vapour pressure deficit (VPD) as with 14 other drought-related metrics, including more complex metrics that explicitly represent fuel moisture. Particularly strong correlations with VPD arise partly because this term dictates the atmospheric moisture demand. Additionally, VPD responds to moisture supply, which is difficult to measure and model regionally due to ...


Temperature as a potent driver of regional forest drought stress and tree mortality

Nature Climate Change, Vol. 3, No. 3. (30 September 2012), pp. 292-297,


As the climate changes, drought may reduce tree productivity and survival across many forest ecosystems; however, the relative influence of specific climate parameters on forest decline is poorly understood. We derive a forest drought-stress index (FDSI) for the southwestern United States using a comprehensive tree-ring data set representing AD 1000–2007. The FDSI is approximately equally influenced by the warm-season vapour-pressure deficit (largely controlled by temperature) and cold-season precipitation, together explaining 82% of the FDSI variability. Correspondence between the FDSI and measures ...

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