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Atlas of Climatic Controls of Fire in the Western United States
 
In this atlas of monthly fire-climate relations, we have divided the westernUS into 8 subregions.  These subregions reflect first-order climatological, topographic, and ecological characteristics and variations, and they are appropriate in size both for the spatial scale of regional climate simulations and the 1-degree gridded fire data set (Westerling et al., 2003).
 
 
Atlas pages are of two kinds:  1) an enhanced table of ranks and correlations (left), and 2) plots of composite anomalies constructed using RegCM simulations for high, normal, and low-fire incidence years.
 
 
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The following table contains the tables and plots for the eight regions summaried here.
 
        Composite Anomalies  
    Rank and Correlations June July August
   

Pacific Coast

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Interior Pacific Northwest

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Northern Rockies

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Sierra Nevada

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Central Rockies

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Great Basin

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Southwest

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Southern Rockies

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Comparison of the regional ranking and correlation tables
 

This display is intended to contrast the regions using patterns of color. In general, dark orange indicates high fi re, warm air temperatures, low precipitation, and low soil moisture, whereas dark blue indicates opposite conditions. The fi rst order similarities and dissimilarities among the regions are apparent and intuitive, e.g., wildfi re conditions in the Rocky Mountain region are highly dependent on temperature and moisture conditions. Counterintuitive patterns are displayed in the Southwest where high fi re years are associated with warm temperatures but wetter ranked conditions indicating the infl uence of high moisture levels on fuel supply and the association of lightning strikes with the summer monsoon.

 
[click to enlarge]
 

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contact:  bartlein@oregon.edu; steve@coas.oregonstate.edu;  last updated:  18 Dec 2005 09:13 PM