PhD Student Donal O’Leary presented his research on snowmelt timing and wildfires at the AGU 2018 Fall meeting. He was invited to give his eLightning talk, entitled “Early snowmelt timing leads to divergent wildfire responses in vegetated ecosystems of western USA,” as a result of winning the Outstanding Student Paper Award at the AGU 2017 Fall Meeting. 

O’Leary was also invited to participate in “The changing U.S. snowpack” press conference based on his eLightning talk where he presented this research. After the successful press conference, O’Leary’s research was highlighted in multiple news outlets including the BBCWIREDAAG, and Arizona Central.

O’Leary’s research uses snowmelt timing maps to investigate the interactions between early snowmelt timing and associated increase or decrease in overall wildfire activity. Building off of their previous publications on methods for quantifying snowmelt timing and snowmelt in the Cascade Mountains, O’Leary’s team uses time series analysis of satellite imagery along with high-resolution fire and vegetation maps to investigate these processes at unprecedented spatial scales. Their work is currently under revision for peer-reviewed publication.

Wildfire near mountains