Climate change and associated fire potential for the south-eastern United States in the 21st century
Climate models indicate that the climate of the south-eastern US will experience increasing temperatures and associated evapotranspiration in the 21st century. The current study found that conditions in the south-eastern US will likely become drier overall, given a warmer environment during future winter and spring seasons. This study examined the potential effects of a warmer climate in the 21st century on relevant meteorological fire parameters (e.g. total and convective precipitation, 500-hPa geopotential heights, near-surface relative humidity) and popular fire indices (e.g. Haines and Keetch–Byram Drought Indices) in the south-eastern US. Although the results offered conflicting implications in portions of the study domain, the southern half of the south-eastern US (including the Deep South, the southern Piedmont and Florida) exhibited the highest potential for increasing fire activity in the mid-21st century, given maximum warming and drying in these areas, especially in the spring season.