Fire weather forecast for … the next decade

Wildland firefighters usually follow the weather forecasts religiously, so I was interested to find in the Southern Area Coordination Center Morning Report for Friday, September 30, 2011 in addition to the standard short range forecast an extremely long range forecast for the next 10 years:

An Even Longer Range Outlook Beyond 2011 Into the Next Decade: Given the abnormally low solar activity in combination with cold sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific and the trend for La Nina episodes to be stronger and longer, the Southern Region can expect more frequent and prolonged drought conditions. This will amplify fire potential in the South for the next 10 or so years. The fire problem will likely be particularly poignant for Oklahoma and Texas. Drought conditions that are occurring in Texas currently are comparable to those of the mid 1950s as well as the later 1800s during the Dalton Solar Minimum. While the Atlantic Ocean is still in a warmer than average cycle, some cooling has become apparent since the widespread “hot” temperatures seen during the 2005 summer season. A gradually cooling Atlantic ocean in conjunction with a cooler than average Pacific cycle would indicate conditions  leading to more frequent cooler than average temperatures for the US – especially during the fall and winter seasons.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.