northwest Climate change is driving wildfires, and not just in California
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australian electronic gold prospecting forum.com  |  Off topic  |  Off topic  |  Climate change  |  Topic: Climate change is driving wildfires, and not just in California 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Climate change is driving wildfires, and not just in California  (Read 42 times)
Doug
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« on: Thursday February 7 2019 19:36:13 AEDT PM »

This post has great relevance as today is the 10th anniversary of  black Saturday in Vic when 173 people lost their lives in unprecedented  bush fires.
Sadly climate change will make these wildfires  more common and more severe as  a result of declining rainfall, rising temperatures, longer fires seasons and more extreme weather events.
Climate change is driving wildfires, and not just in California
“There are multiple reasons why wildfires are getting more severe and destructive, but climate change tops the list, notwithstanding claims to the contrary by President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. According to the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment, released on Nov. 23, higher temperatures and earlier snowmelt are extending the fire season in western states. By 2050, according to the report, the area that burns yearly in the West could be two to six times larger than today “
  

Ten ways climate change is making wildfires worse
  

Impact of anthropogenic climate change on wildfire across western US forests

John T. Abatzogloua,1 and A. Park Williamsb
aDepartment of Geography, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844; and bLamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964
Edited by Monica G. Turner, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI, and approved July 28, 2016 (received for review May 5, 2016)

 Increased forest fire activity across the western continental United
States (US) in recent decades has likely been enabled by a number of
factors, including the legacy of fire suppression and human settlement,
natural climate variability, and human-caused climate change.
We use modeled climate projections to estimate the contribution
of anthropogenic climate change to observed increases in eight fuel
aridity metrics and forest fire area across the western United States.
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 ?) 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.



Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Oct 18; 113(42): 11649–11650.
Published online 2016 Oct 10. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1612926113
PMCID: PMC5081606
PMID: 27791047
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
Human-caused climate change is now a key driver of forest fire activity in the western United States
Effects of climate warming on natural and human systems are becoming increasingly visible across the globe. For example, the shattering of past yearly records for global high temperatures seems to be a near-annual event, with the five hottest years since 1880 all occurring since 2005 (1). Not coincidentally, the single hottest year on record, 2015, also broke records for area burned by wildfire in the United States (Fig. 1 A and B), eclipsing the previous high mark set just one decade prior (2). Scientists have known for some time that climate is a key driver of forest fires; records from the past and present (3–5) provide strong evidence that warmer temperatures are associated with spikes in fire activity. Therefore, recent increases in wildfire activity as the planet warms are not a surprise. However, just how much of the recent increases in forest fire activity can be attributed to human-caused climate change vs. natural variability in climate? This question has profound scientific, management, and policy implications, yet answers have thus far remained elusive. In PNAS, Abatzoglou and Williams (6) present strong evidence that human-caused climate change is increasing wildfire activity across wide swaths of forested land in the western United States. They demonstrate that human-caused climate change has lengthened the annual fire season (i.e., the window of time each year with weather that is conducive to forest fires) and, since 1984, has doubled the cumulative area in the western United States that would have otherwise burned due to natural climate forcing alone.

The science has been clear for some time that more forest fire is a symptom of a warmer climate; now, the science is clear that a substantial portion of accelerating forest fire activity today is caused by anthropogenic climate change. Unless we get serious about curbing human drivers of climate change, we should expect a fiery future in western US forest ecosystems and the communities that surround them.


How climate change is increasing forest fires around the world

  
doug smile
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