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Contact: Michael Patrick Rutter
Harvard University

Percentage Increase in Area Burned by Wildfires in the western US

Caption: This graph shows the percentage increase in area burned by wildfires, from the present-day to the 2050s, as calculated by the model of Spracklen et al. [2009] for the May-October fire season. The model follows a scenario of moderately increasing emissions of greenhouse gas emissions and leads to average global warming of 1.6 oCelsius (3oFahrenheit ) by 2050. Warmer temperatures can dry out underbrush, leading to more serious conflagrations in the future climate.

Credit: Loretta Mickley, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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Related news release: Scientists expect wildfires to increase as climate warms in the coming decades

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