Climatic Change

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 35–45 | Cite as

Climate change in Yellowstone National Park: Is the drought-related risk of wildfires increasing?

  • Robert C. BallingJr.
  • Grant A. Meyer
  • Stephen G. Wells


The increased frequency of wildfires in the United States has become a common prediction associated with the build-up of greenhouse gases. In this investigation, variations in annual wildfire data in Yellowstone National Park are compared to variations in historical climate conditions for the area. Univariate and multivariate analytical techniques reveal that (a) summer temperatures in the Park are increasing, (b) January-June precipitation levels are decreasing, and (c) variations in burn area within the Park are significantly related to the observed variations in climate. Outputs from four different general circulation model simulations for 2 × CO2 are included in the analyses; model predictions for increasing aridity in the Yellowstone Park area are generally in agreement with observed trends in the historical climate records.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert C. BallingJr.
    • 1
  • Grant A. Meyer
    • 2
  • Stephen G. Wells
    • 3
  1. 1.Office of Climatology and Department of GeographyArizona State UniversityTempeU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueU.S.A.
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of California-RiversideRiversideU.S.A.

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