Drought conditions set the stage for an intense fire season in California in 2021

  • Released Monday, December 12th, 2022
  • Updated Sunday, February 11th, 2024 at 11:02PM
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The 2021 wildfire season in California started amid an ongoing drought and historically low rainfall and reservoir levels. By August, seasonal deficits of rainfall result in anomalously dry soils in large parts of the Western US. Eventually, the vegetation dries out as the roots can’t provide moisture to meet atmospheric demand. This vegetation stress is captured by thermal imaging satellites and by the model as reduced plant growth.

Still showing the 4 data sets side-by-side including:  precipitation anomaly, root zone soil moisture, evaporative stress index, and gross primary productivity

Still showing the 4 data sets side-by-side including: precipitation anomaly, root zone soil moisture, evaporative stress index, and gross primary productivity



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio


Datasets used in this visualization

  • GTOPO30 Topography and Bathymetry

    ID: 274
    Data Compilation USGS
  • GPM Rainfall anomaly for Aug 2021

    ID: 1165
    Data Compilation

    Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) V06 Precipitation downscaled to 1 km within LIS model

    See all pages that use this dataset
  • Rootzone Soil moisture Anomaly August 14, 2021

    ID: 1166
    Data Compilation

    Anomaly in Rootzone soil moisture based on 20-year record from 1-km LIS-model run, after assimilation of downscaled SMAP surface moisture product (THySM: Thermal Hydraulic disaggregation of SMAP Soil Moisture).

    See all pages that use this dataset
  • Evaporative Stress Index (12-weeks) on August 13, 2021

    ID: 1167
    Observed Data

    Atmosphere-Land Exchange Inverse (ALEXI) Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) generated by the NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center (SPoRT), based on MODIS-based thermal infrared observations

    Credit: Anderson, Martha C., John M. Norman, John R. Mecikalski, Jason A. Otkin, and William P. Kustas. "A climatological study of evapotranspiration and moisture stress across the continental United States based on thermal remote sensing: 2. Surface moisture climatology." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 112, no. D11 (2007).

    See all pages that use this dataset
  • Anomaly in Gross Primary Production, August 2021

    ID: 1168
    Model

    Anomaly in Gross Primary Production based on 20-year record from LIS-model run

    See all pages that use this dataset

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