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Development and Application of a Hot-Dry-Windy Index (HDW) Climatology

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McDonald, Jessica ; Srock, Alan ; Charney, Joseph

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In this paper, we describe and analyze a climatology of the Hot-Dry-Windy Index (HDW), with the goal of providing fire-weather forecasters with information about the daily and seasonal variability of the index. The 30-year climatology (1981–2010) was produced using the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) for the contiguous United States, using percentiles to show seasonal and geographical variations of HDW contained within the climatology. The method for producing this climatology is documented and the application of the climatology to historical fire events is discussed. We show that the HDW climatology provides insight into near-surface climatic conditions that can be used to identify temperature and humidity trends that correspond to climate classification systems. Furthermore, when used in conjunction with daily traces of HDW values, users can follow trends in HDW and compare those trends with historical values at a given location. More usefully, this climatology adds value to HDW forecasts; by combining the CFSR climatology and a Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) ensemble history and forecast, we can produce a single product that provides seasonal, climatological, and short-term context to help determine the appropriate fire-management response to a given HDW value.


fire weather; climatology; fire-weather forecasting


McDonald, Jessica; Srock, Alan; Charney, Joseph. 2018. Development and Application of a Hot-Dry-Windy Index (HDW) Climatology. Atmosphere. 9(7): 285. 13 p.

Last updated on: August 8, 2018