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Leroy Westerling, PhD

Lead, Climate Change & Fire Projections Team

Professor of Management of Complex Systems, UC Merced

Leroy is the Lead of the Climate Change & Fire Projections Team. He is responsible for leading the development and assessment of statistical wildfire models and their coupling with other dynamic vegetation and land surface models. He conducts independent and collaborative research on the drivers of extreme wildfire seasons in the historic record using documentary and remotely sensed fire history data. Leroy applies this research to build statistical and coupled statistical–dynamical models of wildfire activity for seasonal forecasts, climate change assessments, and paleofire reconstructions. Extensions of this work estimate the effects of historic and simulated wildfires on ecosystem composition, carbon storage, pollution emissions, endangered species habitat suitability, wildfire suppression costs, and property losses. Prior to joining UC Merced, he was a research scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He has published extensively on wildfire and climate in the western United States. Leroy holds a doctorate in Economics and International Affairs from UC San Diego.