SWEX in the News

Down the mountains they roll
A team of UCSB researchers will look into the mountain winds that have fueled fires in the region

Santa Barbara Press | 17 Aug 2019

The beautiful Santa Ynez mountains that Santa Barbara County is famous for has a not so pretty side to it. The winds that stoke the fires in the region descend from the southern slopes of the mountains. These downslope winds tend to be stronger around sunset and so are known as "sundowners."
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UCSB Researchers Score Major $2.5 Million Grant to Study Sundowners 
Better Understanding of Santa Barbara Fire Weather Will Improve Warnings

Santa Barbara Independent | 14 Aug 2019

Sundowners. It’s a word that strikes fear in the hearts of all Santa Barbarans, especially on those warm summer nights when the light fades and dry air starts rolling down the mountains. The South Coast–specific weather event has triggered nearly all of the region’s major wildfires, including the recent Sherpa, Whittier, and devastating Thomas, yet there’s been surprisingly little research done on the atmospheric dynamics that create such tinderbox conditions.
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Earth, Wind and Fire: UCSB Scientists Lead Study on Area’s Sundowners
The Current | 12 Aug 2019

The scene plays out frequently in Southern California: Hot, dry winds blow in from the mountains, fanning a small brushfire into a true conflagration. Santa Barbara has its own version of these downslope winds known to peak around sunset in the southern slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains, earning them the moniker “sundowners.”
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