Tree Frog Forestry News

Harnessing big data and machine learning to forecast wildfires in the western U.S.

By Renee Cho, Columbia University
July 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Park Williams, a Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory associate research professor and a 2016 Center for Climate and Life Fellow, studies climatology, drought, and wildfires. …His goal is to create a tool to help scientists understand why wildfires in Western U.S. states have changed over the last century, ways they may evolve in the future, and how humans can most effectively respond to them. Williams will compile observations of tens of thousands of fires over the last 30 to 40 years and where they burned across the Western U.S. He’ll relate these to climate data sets of where people live, and what vegetation grows where. The end product will be a computer program that can project how these variables affect the probability of large fires and that will attempt to simulate how vegetation responds to fire. 

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