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Atlantic/Pacific ocean temperature difference fuels drought and wildfires in CA and Southwest US; multi-year predictions possible

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July 26, 2017 Institute for Basic Science Read full ScienceDaily article here
A new study shows that difference in water temperature between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans together with global warming impact the risk of drought and wildfire in southwestern North America.
…”we were able to show that without anthropogenic effects, the droughts in the southwestern United States would have been less severe.”
..The new findings show that a warm Atlantic and a relatively cold Pacific enhance the risk for drought and wildfire in the southwestern US. “According to our study, the Atlantic/Pacific temperature difference shows pronounced variations on timescales of more than 5 years. Like swings of a very slow pendulum, this implies that there is predictability in the large-scale atmosphere/ocean system, which we expect will have a substantial societal benefit,”…
…”we can use our climate computer model to determine whether on average the next year will have drier or wetter soils or more or less wildfires. Our yearly forecasts are far better than chance.”…

Yoshimitsu Chikamoto, Axel Timmermann, Matthew J. Widlansky, Magdalena A. Balmaseda, Lowell Stott. Multi-year predictability of climate, drought, and wildfire in southwestern North America. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-06869-7

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