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Inducing Factors and Impacts of the October 2017 California Wildfires

Li, Andy X. and Wang, Yuan and Yung, Yuk L. (2019) Inducing Factors and Impacts of the October 2017 California Wildfires. Earth and Space Science, 6 (8). pp. 1480-1488. ISSN 2333-5084. doi:10.1029/2019ea000661.

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The California wildfires of October 2017 were one of the largest wildfires in the state's history. Using surface temperature, surface pressure, cloud liquid and ice water contents, precipitation data, and wind data, we explore possible reasons for the wildfires. It is found that the mean surface temperature in California has increased, while mean cloud water contents and mean precipitation in California has decreased over the past 39 years. Higher temperatures, higher surface pressures, lower cloud water contents, lower precipitation, enhanced surface Santa Ana winds, and enhanced sinking air have set up favorable meteorological conditions for stronger wildfires in California, such as the October 2017 wildfires. Furthermore, the CO_2 data from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO‐2) satellite have, for the first time, made it possible for us to quantitatively characterize the impact of wildfires on atmospheric CO_2 in California, which revealed that atmospheric CO_2 increased by 2 ppm after the October 2017 California wildfires. Analyses in this study can help us better understand the causes and impacts of wildfires.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Li, Andy X.0000-0002-3240-3483
Wang, Yuan0000-0001-6657-8401
Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 2019 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Received 6 APR 2019; Accepted 30 JUL 2019; Accepted article online 4 AUG 2019; Published online 27 AUG 2019. We thank two anonymous referees and editor for their time and constructive suggestions. We thank helpful comments from Sally Newman and William Chan. Y. Y. is supported by the NASA OCO‐2 project. Y. W. acknowledges the support from AQ‐SRTD at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Multi‐Angle Imager for Aerosols project. ECMWF‐Interim data can be downloaded at‐full‐daily/levtype=sfc/ website. GPCP precipitation data can be downloaded at website. OCO‐2 X_(CO2) retrievals can be downloaded at website. MODIS burned area data can be downloaded at website.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Wildfire; Carbon Dioxide; Drought
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190805-104042393
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Li, A. X., Wang, Y., & Yung, Y. L. (2019). Inducing Factors and Impacts of the October 2017 California Wildfires. Earth and Space Science, 6, 1480–1488.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:97636
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:05 Aug 2019 17:47
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:33

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