Climate change in Yellowstone National Park: Is the drought-related risk of wildfires increasing?

Robert Balling, Grant A. Meyer, Stephen G. Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

The increased frequency of wildfires in the United States has become a common prediction associated with the build-up of greenhouse gases. In this investigation, variations in annual wildfire data in Yellowstone National Park are compared to variations in historical climate conditions for the area. Univariate and multivariate analytical techniques reveal that (a) summer temperatures in the Park are increasing, (b) January-June precipitation levels are decreasing, and (c) variations in burn area within the Park are significantly related to the observed variations in climate. Outputs from four different general circulation model simulations for 2 × CO2 are included in the analyses; model predictions for increasing aridity in the Yellowstone Park area are generally in agreement with observed trends in the historical climate records.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalClimatic Change
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science

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