UCI Earth system science researchers Yang Chen and Jim Randerson, along with NASA colleagues, are predicting an above-average wildfire risk in the eastern Amazon region and an average to below-average fire risk in the western Amazon for the upcoming dry season. Their findings are based on a fire severity model first published in 2011 that relies on historical fire data from NASA’s Terra satellite and sea surface temperature measurements in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. “We have issued an Amazon fire forecast each year since 2012 using this model, and with the exception of 2013, we have been fairly accurate,” Chen said. The UCI and NASA scientists are investigating the reason for the overestimation of fire risk in 2013. They’re attributing the east-west divergence in this year’s forecast to the El Niño condition developing in the Pacific Ocean.