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ESS Seminar: Leroy Westerling - Climate Change and Wildfire Impact Assessment for California

When:
Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 12:30 PM
Where:
Y2E2 111
More Info:
ESS Seminar: Leroy Westerling - Climate Change and Wildfire Impact Assessment f…
Audience:
Faculty/Staff, Students
Sponsor:
Department of Earth System Science

Prof. Leroy Westerling
Professor of Management of Complex Systems
Ernest and Julio Gallo Management Program, UC Merced

Wildfires and their impacts are increasing significantly in California and elsewhere due to warming temperatures and more variable precipitation. Assessing future changes in wildfires and their impacts for adaptation and mitigation purposes requires scenario-driven simulation. Coarse scale statistical fire models are a computationally efficient approach to simulating wildfires for large numbers of scenarios. Potential drawbacks are that coupled dynamic disturbance and vegetation changes can be very important determinants of future ecosystem and ecosystem services characteristics, and management and planning applications can require data across a range of spatial and temporal scales beyond what is feasible for regional statistical approaches. Modeling efforts have been and are experimenting with hybrid approaches to incorporating dynamic vegetation changes and with extending results to finer spatial scales. These include coupling statistical fire models with dynamic land surface models such as Landis 2, LUCAS, and iLand; statistical downscaling of area burned binned by burn severity classes; and expert stakeholder elicited fire perimeter generation. We present examples from the Third and Fourth California State Climate Assessments, and applications including spotted owl habitat risk management, insured property losses, fuels management and changing forest carbon dynamics, air pollution emissions, and community adaptation planning. These studies inform planning for new model development for the Fifth California State Climate Assessment, which is presently underway. We will provide an overview of recent changes in wildfire and of model development for the Fifth State Climate Assessment, including anticipated spatial and temporal scales and hybrid modeling approaches.

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