Wildfires have become more severe and frequent in the western United States and other regions of the world in recent years. As part of a recently funded National Science Foundation project, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professors Yuhang Wang and Yi Deng will develop apply a state-of-the-science community earth system model (CESM1) to understand the interactions between climate change and wildfires.
There are many ramifications of these fires, ranging of losses of human lives and properties to ecosystem preservation and adaptation. Prolonged drought conditions due to regional and global climate change are a main driving factor for wildfires, while wildfires also strongly affect regional and global climate by releasing large amounts of aerosols and changing the land surface properties. Our project is a modeling project using the better climate modeling system available. The development of a coupled climate-fire-ecosystem modeling framework in the CESM1 system will enable better understanding and projection of decadal scale wildfire and climate variability and provide the scientific basis for better long-term forest fire management policies.
The model is part of a four-year, $2.5 million research project jointly funded by the NSF, Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition to researchers at Georgia Tech, the multi-disciplinary research team, led by Professor Wang, also includes scientists from Auburn University, DOE Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the USDA Southern Research Station.
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