Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Drought provides a favourable environment for the ignition and spread of intense wildfires. This study examines the opposite relationship between the two natural disasters, that is, the role of wildfires in the development of drought. The case of the 1988 northern U.S. wildfires is investigated. Emissions of smoke particles from the wildfires and the resulting optical depth are estimated using wildfire data and empirical algorithms. Radiative forcing of the smoke particles and atmospheric response are simulated using a regional climate model. It is found that absorption of solar radiation by smoke particles weakens the North America trough in the middle latitudes, which is a major generator of precipitation in the Midwest. Rainfall in this region is therefore reduced, providing evidence for the role of wildfires in enhancing drought.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Liu, Yongqiang. 2005. Enhancement of the 1988 northern U.S. drought due to wildfires. Geophysical Research Letters. 32(10): 1-4.

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page