Large-scale climate patterns that can reach weather over thousands of kilometers may have a hand in synchronizing multicontinental droughts and wildfires around the world, two new studies find.
These deep patterns, known as teleological climates, typically occur as frequent phases that can last from weeks to years. “Some of the effects of butterflies are complex, in that what happens in one place has many derivatives far away,” says Sergio de Miguel, an ecosystem scientist at the University of Ilerden and Solsona of the Articulated Unit of Spain CTFC-Agrotecnio. Spain.
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Major droughts occur around the same time in drought-warming areas around the world, and television broadcasts may be greater after synchronization, researchers report in one study. What’s more, these deep patterns may also account for more than half the area burned on Earth each year, Miguel and colleagues report in another study.
The research can help countries around the world predict and collaborate to help researchers deal with drought and wildfires more broadly, the researchers say.
The El Niño–Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, is perhaps the most well-known climate teleconnection (SN: 8/21/19). ENSO involves phases during which trade winds are reduced and warm surface water in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, known as El Niño, accumulates, and opposite phases of cooler tropical water known as La Niña.
This increase in wind power, temperature and precipitation patterns around the world, says Samantha Stevenson, a climate scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who was involved in neither study. “If you change the temperature of the ocean in the tropical Pacific or the Atlantic … that has an effect on a certain location,” he explains. For example, the 1982 El Niño caused severe droughts in Indonesia and Australia and floods and floods in parts of the United States.
Past research has predicted that human-induced climate change will cause more severe droughts and make wildfire seasons more severe in many regions (SN: 3/4/20). However, few studies have investigated how shorter-term climate changes – teleological – affect these events on a global scale. Such work could help countries improve their forecasting efforts and capabilities, says climate scientist Ashok Mishra of Clemson University in South Carolina.
In one of the new studies, Mishra and colleagues used drought data from 1901 to 2018 to simulate the world’s drought history as a network of drought events, drawing connections between events that occurred within three months of each other. .
The researchers identified major drought hot spots across the globe – places where droughts tended to appear at the same time or within a few months. These hot spots included the western and midwestern United States, the Amazon, east of the Andes, southern Africa, the Arabian deserts, southern Europe, and Scandinavia.
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“When you get drought in one, you get drought in others,” says climate scientist Ben Kravitz of Indiana University Bloomington, who was not involved in the study. “If this happens all at once, it can affect things like global trade; [distribution of humanitarian] aid, pollution and many other things.
Subsequent analysis of sea surface temperature and precipitation patterns suggested that major weather patterns are behind the synchronization of droughts on separate continents, researchers report on January 10. Nature Communications. El Niño appeared to be the main driver of simultaneous droughts in parts of South America, Africa and Australia. ENSO is known to exert a large influence on precipitation patterns (SN: 4/16/20). That discovery is “a good validation of the method,” Kravitz says. “We are waiting for that to appear.”
in the second study, published on the 27th of January Nature Communications, de Miguel and colleagues explored how televised climate change affects the amount of land around the world. Researchers have known that climate patterns can influence the frequency and intensity of wildfires. In a new study, researchers compared satellite data on the global area burned from 1982 to 2018 with data on the strength and timing of major climate television programs.
Variations in the annual pattern of burned area are highly aligned with climate levels and telemetry. In all of these climate models, about 53 percent of the land around the world burned, the team found. According to Miguel, teleconnections directly influence the growth of vegetation and other conditions, such as dryness, soil moisture and temperature, which is the first landscape fires.
The North Atlantic Tropical Climate, a pattern of varying sea surface temperatures north of the equatorial Atlantic Ocean, has been associated with nearly one-third of the global area burned – making it the most powerful driver of global fires, especially in the North. Hemisphere.
These researchers show that wildfire scars around the world are connected to these televised climates, and that is ‘very useful’, says Stevenson. “Studies like this can help us plan how to go about making a larger part of international policies to deal with things that affect many places at the same time.”
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