The climatology of dew points and fire weather related parameters in the Missouri-Arkansas region
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Forecasting fire weather in the Springfield, Missouri and Little Rock, Arkansas Weather Forecast Offices (SGF and LZK WFO, respectively) across the greater Missouri and Arkansas regions (MoArk) county warning areas has been described as a challenge for wildfire managers. It is known that wildfire managers rely on their local WFO to provide fire weather forecast that are vital in the decision making process for wildfire suppression and prescribe fire management. Many climatic factors that affect fire hazards, including soil moisture, synoptic conditions, dewpoint, temperature and wind are indirectly impacted by ENSO. The climatology of dewpoint, temperature, Palmer Index, and synoptic conditions of fire weather flow regimes are presented here using the synoptic station observation network covering the MoArk region. A statistical analysis was performed in order to find useful interannual variability in the climatology of dew points and fire weather related parameters and their relationship to El Niño and La Niña. The data set used here contains monthly average dewpoint temperatures dating back to 1948 for three sites within Missouri: St. Louis, Columbia, and Springfield and one site in Arkansas: Little Rock. Dewpoint rather than relative humidity was chosen for this research because it is a measure of the actual amount of moisture in the air and is useful for seasonal fire weather.