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Fire in California's Ecosystems$
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Neil Sugihara

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520246058

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520246058.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

. California Climate and Fire Weather

. California Climate and Fire Weather

(p.12) (p.13) chapter 2. California Climate and Fire Weather
Fire in California's Ecosystems

Richard A. Minnich

University of California Press

This chapter starts by exploring some basic principles of weather. It then describes California’s Mediterranean climate from the standpoint of atmospheric circulation. This is followed by short-term weather conditions associated with fire spread, and climate variability and its possible role in fire regimes. The Mediterranean climate results from seasonal changes in global circulation, including California’s marginal position to the jet stream and the presence of cold, upwelling ocean waters offshore. The weather influences fire outcomes by altering vegetation fuel moisture and the efficiency of heat transfer in combustion. The El Niño/Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation influence the amount and distribution of water vapor that is evaporated into the air, condensed into clouds, and rained back to earth. The effect of precipitation variability is modulated by patch structure in which changes in regional fire hazard result in only finite portions of stands achieving flammability thresholds.

Keywords:   weather, California, Mediterranean climate, atmospheric circulation, fire, climate variability, El Niño, Southern Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation

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