Temporal patterns of El Nino/Southern Oscillation - wildfire teleconnections in the southwestern United States

T. W. Swetnam, T. L. Batancourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wildland fire occurrence in the SW USA is correlated with winter-spring precipitation, tree-ring growth, and the Southern Oscillation. Twentieth century (1905-1985) records from all National Forest lands in Arizona and New Mexico show reduced/increased annual area burned during low/high (respectively) mean December through February Southern Oscillation indices. A 206-yr record of regional fire activity (1700-1905) derived from fire scars in conifer trees shows high correlation with precipitation-responsive tree-ring width chronologies during the 1740s to 1830s and 1870s to 1900s. Synchronized biennial patterns of high/low tree-ring growth and low-high fire activity, respectively, is evident. Temporal changes in southwestern fire regimes over the past three centuries may be indicative of ecological changes in these forests (eg other natural or human disturbances), or changes in the ENSO phenomenon. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-270
Number of pages12
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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