PhD title: "Climate change impacts on wildfire risk in seasonally dry forests"
Wildfires in seasonally dry forests are becoming increasingly prevalent, causing environmental and economic damage and affecting people’s health. Meteorological conditions conducive to wildfire ignition and spread and projected to increase, however lightning (the predominant natural cause of wildfires) observations have historically been limited.
With access to a newly acquired dataset of high-quality lightning observations available for this project, I will analyse this data to identify past events and trends in lightning and wildfires with the aim of attributing the lightning events to wildfire ignition in seasonally dry forests. I plan to achieve this by analysing the results of ground-based and satellite observations, with a focus on evaluating the regional impacts of lightning events on spatiotemporal wildfire patterns.
I would then investigate the key climate indicators conditional for lightning-ignited wildfires and use these thresholds to predict future lightning-ignited wildfire risk based on projections from climate models.