2A.4 Attributing Extreme Fire Risk in Western Canada to Human Emissions

Friday, 28 July 2017: 11:15 AM
Constellation E (Hyatt Regency Baltimore)
Megan C. Kirchmeier-Young, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada; and F. W. Zwiers, N. P. Gillett, and A. J. Cannon

Large fires, such as that near Fort McMurray, Alberta in 2016, can be devastating to the communities affected. Such high-impact extreme events often incite an interest in the connection to human-induced climate change. Understanding the role of human emissions in the occurrence of extreme fire events can lend insight into how these events might change in the future. An event attribution framework is used to quantify the influence of anthropogenic forcings on extreme fire risk in the current climate of a western Canada region. Numerous metrics from the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System are used to define the extreme events of interest. It is shown that anthropogenic forcing has increased the probability of occurrence for all metrics of extreme fire risk compared to a climate with natural forcings alone.
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