Tropical Cyclone and Wildfire Interactions

Tropical storms and wildfires are destructive natural phenomena in both ecological and socioeconomic terms. Many environmental factors that affect wildfires have been identified, for example wildfires are more probable under drought conditions, can be sparked by lightning, intensified by wind and their activities affected by El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). In addition to these, there are strong empirical evidences suggesting that connections exist between tropical storms and wildfires, yet this link is understudied. This is an instance of climate anomalies separated by large distances being related to each other, a still poorly understood phenomenon referred to as teleconnection in atmospheric science.

We focus on the study of teleconnection between the two extreme events of tropical storms and wildfires and strive to answer the following three questions:

(i) What is the mechanism behind the connection between North Atlantic hurricanes and South Amazon wildfires?

(ii) Can maritime continent wildfires be driven by West Pacific tropical storms and if so how?

(iii) Is Australian wildfire a favourable factor for tropical storm development and if so why?

We expect that our research output can help improve the forecast of these extreme events and predict their trends in face of climate change.



Tsui, E.Y.L, and Toumi, R. (2021) Hurricanes as an enabler of Amazon fires Scientific Reports, 11: 16960

Project duration: 2020-2024