Severe impacts of wildfires on fine particulate air quality, Yuanyu Xie, Postdoc (3959280)
Record-setting fires in the western United States over the last decade caused severe air pollution, loss of human life, and property damage. Enhanced drought and increased biomass in a warmer climate may fuel larger and more frequent wildfires in the coming decades. Applying an empirical statistical model to fires projected by Earth System Models including climate–ecosystem–socioeconomic interactions, we show that fine particulate pollution over the US Pacific Northwest could double to triple during late summer to fall by the late 21st century under intermediate- and low-mitigation scenarios. The historic fires and resulting pollution extremes of 2017–2020 could occur every 3 to 5 y under 21st-century climate change, posing challenges for air quality management and threatening public health.