Simultaneous heatwaves and droughts are becoming increasingly common in western parts of the Unites States, according to a new study led by researchers from McGill University. Periods of dry and hot weather, which can make wildfires more likely, are becoming larger, more intense, and more frequent because of climate change.
In a study published by Science Advances, the researchers analyzed heat and drought events across the contiguous United States over the past 122 years. They found that combined dry and hot events have not only increased in frequency, but also in size geographically. Where such events were once confined to small parts of the United States, now they cover whole regions, such as the entire west coast and parts of the Northeast and Southeast.
“Dry-hot events can cause large fires. Add wind and a source of ignition, and this results in ‘megafires’ like the 2020 fires across the west