Pacific-Atlantic Ocean influence on wildfires in northeast China (1774 to 2010)

Qichao Yao, Peter M. Brown, Shirong Liu, Monique E. Rocca, Valerie Trouet, Ben Zheng, Haonan Chen, Yinchao Li, Duanyang Liu, Xiaochun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Identification of effects that climate teleconnections, such as El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), have on wildfires is difficult because of short and incomplete records in many areas of the world. We developed the first multicentury wildfire chronologies for northeast China from fire-scarred trees. Regional wildfires occurred every 7 years from the 1700s to 1947, after which fire suppression policies were implemented. Regional wildfires occurred predominately during drought years and were associated with positive phases of ENSO and PDO and negative NAO. Twentieth century meteorological records show that this contingent combination of +ENSO/+PDO/−NAO is linked to low humidity, low precipitation, and high temperature during or before late spring fire seasons. Climate and wildfires in northeast China may be predictable based on teleconnection phases, although future wildfires may be more severe due to effects of climate change and the legacy of fire suppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1033
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 28 2017


  • China
  • Pacific-Atlantic Ocean
  • dendroecology
  • drought
  • fire history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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