Study: Climate Change Has Doubled Forest Fires in West

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-1-01-32-pm Various news outlets have covered a new study, Impact of anthropogenic climate change on wildfire across western US forests, that concludes that “man-made climate change has doubled the total area burned by forest fires in the Western U.S. in the past three decades.”

The impact? Here’s a clip:

“Anthropogenic increases in temperature and vapor pressure deficit significantly enhanced fuel aridity across western US forests over the past several decades and, during 2000–2015, contributed to 75% more forested area experiencing high (>1 σ) fire-season fuel aridity and an average of nine additional days per year of high fire potential. Anthropogenic climate change accounted for ∼55% of observed increases in fuel aridity from 1979 to 2015 across western US forests, highlighting both anthropogenic climate change and natural climate variability as important contributors to increased wildfire potential in recent decades. We estimate that human-caused climate change contributed to an additional 4.2 million ha of forest fire area during 1984–2015, nearly doubling the forest fire area expected in its absence. Natural climate variability will continue to alternate between modulating and compounding anthropogenic increases in fuel aridity, but anthropogenic climate change has emerged as a driver of increased forest fire activity and should continue to do so while fuels are not limiting. ”

One thought on “Study: Climate Change Has Doubled Forest Fires in West

  1. Josh Hoard

    Very scary stuff brought up in this article. The one thing it does not mention is the fact that this effect is compounded by the fact that we have been suppressing this natural phenomenon for some time in order to spare homes of people who have decided to stake claim. This is a direct example of humankind not listening to nature when she speaks. From the suppression of fire in the west, we have created a tinder box that, if allowed to burn completely and unimpeded, would destroy the soil and eradicate all flora and fauna. This is because the fuel that is left instead of burned is allowed to accumulate, coupled with increased drought conditions from man-made climate change, create a recipe for complete disaster. the rebound from a complete burn would take decades and all life would be forced to emigrate to new locations. This emigration would put even more pressure on overcrowding in metropolitan areas and cities would explode in square miles, eradicating more habitat, increasing pockets of pollution and increase greenhouse gasses. All life is a circle and there is no escaping it. We must begin to listen to nature before it is too late.

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