Arctic sea ice melt has driven an increase in “fire-favourable weather” across the western US over the past four decades, according to new research. The study, published in Nature Communications, finds that low Arctic sea ice levels during July to October have knock-on impacts in the atmosphere that push the jet stream northwards. This tends to bring hotter and drier conditions in the western US over the following autumn, resulting in more frequent and intense fires in the region, the authors find. They add that this mechanism may strengthen over the coming decades as the Arctic melts further, making the western US “even more susceptible to destructive fire hazards”.
Carbon Brief 25th Nov 2021 read more »