News Release

AMS science preview: Maui wildfire, Salt Lake drying, traffic and weather

Early online research from journals of the American Meteorological Society

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Meteorological Society

Meteorology of Maui Wildfire


“An east-west vertical cross section including Lahaina and the eastern portion of Lanai from a WRF forecast valid 0300 9 August 2023." Figure 18, from Mass & Ovens (2024), “The Meteorology of the August 2023 Maui Wildfire,” in Monthly Weather Review.

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Credit: Mass & Ovens (2024), “The Meteorology of the August 2023 Maui Wildfire,” Monthly Weather Review. © American Meteorological Society.

The American Meteorological Society continuously publishes research on climate, weather, and water in its 12 journals. Many of these articles are available for early online access–they are peer-reviewed, but not yet in their final published form.

Below is a selection of articles published early online recently. Some articles are open-access; to view others, members of the media can contact for press login credentials.


Understanding Observed Precipitation Change and the New Climate Normal from the Perspective of Daily Weather Types in the Southeast U.S.
Journal of Climate

Wetter and drier in the U.S. Southeast. This study documents changes in precipitation in the U.S. Southeast from the 1960s to 2020, finding a drying of the inland Southeast and eastern Gulf Coast, and increased precipitation on the East Coast and southern Florida. The authors discuss the changes in atmospheric patterns that are responsible for these shifts.

Rising Extreme Meltwater Trends in Greenland Ice Sheet (1950–2022): surface energy balance and large-scale circulation changes
Journal of Climate

“Extreme summer melting” increasing significantly in the Greenland ice sheet. The authors’ analysis finds an upward trend in extreme, nearly unprecedented melting events in the Greenland ice sheet, especially in the north and along the coasts—substantially contributing to global sea level rise. These events correlate with large-scale atmospheric circulation changes and increased summer air and ice-surface temperatures, among other factors that fuel the breakdown of ice sheets.

Climate and Kidney Injury: A look at the impact of meteorological factors on kidney function within Colorado
Weather, Climate, and Society

Humidity predicts kidney injury in Colorado. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) appears to be increasing in the U.S., despite declines in traditional risk factors; many communities at highest risk for CKD are also the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. A 15-year study in Colorado’s agrarian San Luis Valley found a significant correlation between heat and acute kidney injury (AKI, which can be a precursor to CKD); however, unlike in warmer climates, the greatest AKI predictor was low relative humidity: dry air.

For a Pluralism of Climate Modelling Strategies
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

Is climate model funding strategy wrong? Currently, funding for climate models focuses on increasing the resolution and complexity of atmospheric General Circulation Models (GCMs) for more accurate predictions. The authors argue that funding should be distributed more equitably among different model types, some of which–for instance, statistical and machine learning models, and those simulating economic and ecosystem impacts–are both complementary and vital for informing policy and decision-making.

The Shrinking Great Salt Lake May Exacerbate Droughts by Reducing Local Precipitation: A Case Study
Journal of Hydrometeorology

Great Salt Lake drying causes feedback loop of drought. Utah’s Great Salt Lake has shrunk in recent years due to water diversions and drought–but this also means less lake water available to feed local rain patterns. A modeling study suggests that reducing the lake area dramatically reduces the amount of rain dropped by a specific storm; getting rid of the lake completely would halve the amount of precipitation dropped by the storm. This sheds light on how shrinking lakes feed regional droughts.

The Meteorology of the August 2023 Maui Wildfire
Weather and Forecasting

What caused the Maui wildfire? A meteorological analysis the 2023 Maui wildfire found that the event was well-forecast by meteorological models, and that the main meteorological contributors to the fire were stronger-than-normal northeast trade winds sweeping over the West Maui Mountains, accompanied by a stable atmospheric layer near the mountain crest forcing strong wind gusts down the mountains’ lee side (a downslope windstorm). The authors find no significant role for Hurricane Dora in the event, nor were the preceding months significantly drier than normal; the winter before the wildfire was wetter than normal.

The Role of Temperature and Rainfall in Traffic Congestion: Evidence from 98 Chinese cities
Weather, Climate, and Society

Heat decreases (and rain increases) traffic congestion across Chinese cities. A study of meteorological and traffic data from 98 Chinese cities found that when temperatures warm past 25°C, traffic congestion decreases by 6%, while rainfall increases congestion by 2%-5.6% when it happens on a workday. Cities with subways were buffered somewhat from the effects of heat, but not rain.

East Pacific ENSO Offers Early Predictive Signals for Harvest Yields
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology

Predicting Kansas wheat yield via El Niño, seasons ahead. The climate of Kansas is variable and warming, with unknown consequences for this major wheat-producing state. A new analysis suggests that signals in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation pattern in the eastern Pacific are strongly correlated with Kansas’s wheat crop yield a year or so in advance, which could help farmers plan and adapt for optimal production.

Influences of Large Scale Circulation and Atmospheric Rivers on US Winter Precipitation Beyond ENSO
Journal of Climate

Western U.S. winter precipitation may be less affected by climate change. The authors’ analysis and modeling suggests that unlike some other facets of U.S. weather, the so-called 'West Mode' atmospheric pattern, responsible for 50% of western U.S. winter rainfall variability, has been relatively unresponsive to anthropogenic climate forcing thus far. Based on their model, the authors suggest that western winter rainfall "may possess some resilience to the effects of global warming in the coming decades.

You can view all research published in AMS Journals at

ON THE AMS FRONT PAGE BLOG: A flight into Hurricane Ian in 2022 was officially the “bumpiest” ever in a Hurricane Hunter aircraft. A new way of measuring turbulence developed by the flight crew shows the effect of rough air on individual passengers. Read this research spotlight from the 36th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology. (Note: Meeting research is not always peer reviewed.)

About the American Meteorological Society

The American Meteorological Society advances the atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications, and services for the benefit of society. Founded in 1919, AMS has a membership of around 12,000 professionals, students, and weather enthusiasts. AMS publishes 12 atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic science journals; hosts more than 12 conferences annually; and offers numerous programs and services. Visit us at

About AMS Journals

The American Meteorological Society continuously publishes research on climate, weather, and water in its 12 journals. Some AMS journals are open access. Media login credentials are available for subscription journals. Journals include the Bulletin of the American Meteorolocial Society, Weather, Climate, and Society, the Journal of Climate, and Monthly Weather Review.

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