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Climate Change Causing Wildfires in Western USA

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posted on Jul, 7 2006 @ 10:31 AM
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"The changing climate was the most important factor driving a four-fold increase in the average number of large wildfires in the Western United States since 1970," says a recent study.




Wildfire Increase Linked to Climate Change

Rising temperatures throughout the West have stoked an increase in large wildfires over the past 34 years as spring comes earlier, mountain snows melt sooner and forests dry to tinder, scientists reported Thursday.

...the changing climate was the most important factor driving a four-fold increase in the average number of large wildfires in the Western United States since 1970, the researchers concluded.


"Lots of people think climate change and the ecological responses are 50 to 100 years away," said research team member Swetnam. "But it's not 50 to 100 years away. It's happening now in forests through fire."






Also interesting that the report cites "earlier springs," IMO.




posted on Jul, 7 2006 @ 09:32 PM
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Okay, sofi, I'll bite.

What happened to the notion that forestry management, or should I say mismanagement, is responsible for many of the forest fires of today??

www.thefurtrapper.com...

America’s public lands have undergone radical changes during the last century due to the suppression of fires and a lack of active forest and rangeland management. In healthy forests, low-intensity fires help rejuvenate habitat by clearing out underbrush and small trees, leaving an open forest with strong, fire-resistant, mature trees. Today, the forests and rangelands of the West have become unnaturally dense, and ecosystems have suffered.

When coupled with seasonal droughts, these unhealthy forests are vulnerable to unnaturally severe wildfires. They are overloaded with the fuels for fires in underbrush and small trees. A large, catastrophic fire can release the energy equivalent of an atomic bomb and destroy, rather than renew, our forests.


www.thenewamerican.com...
www.heartland.org...
www.govexec.com...



posted on Jul, 7 2006 @ 09:56 PM
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It Seems that both are contributing factors.
The thing with Global Warming is that the fire season is longer, thus more fires.



"It all fits together," said climate researcher Anthony Westerling, who led the research while at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. "The [fire] seasons do start earlier and run longer. It is consistent with a changing climate."



posted on Jul, 7 2006 @ 10:01 PM
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But, can we state absolutely that a changing climate is global warming and not simply a changing climate?
Assuming here that Global Warming is the man made event that is ruining the earth versus climate change which is has been going on as long as the earth has had climate.



posted on Jul, 7 2006 @ 10:19 PM
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"Man made GW" or "not man made" is not the issue of this article.

The Earth’s climate is getting warmer, this is a global event. Global warming is here. This is no longer in dispute.



posted on Jul, 8 2006 @ 12:54 PM
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Ya, but it is global warming at a much accelerated pace.

How do we know? ask the scientist who study ice core samples in the North or South Poles. There are some documentaries that suggest that this global warming is unlike anyother global warming cycle in the Earth's history. Most of the other rapid global warming cycles in the past can be traced to super volcanos or giant astroids.

Since there are no super volcanos or giant astriods to blame at this time, people are still wondering if it is a hotter sun, human pollution or aliens that are causing the acceleration.

I think that the amount of pollution in the air is a good indication. Air pollution, carbon dioxide, ozone layer hole, deforestation, expending deserts, forest fires, growing cities, cars, planes, industries, human population, volcanos, all these minor/major events/conditions in our atmosphere all add up eventually to raise the tempertures and accelerate global warming.

The Earth's ecosystem takes along time to clean up pollution (natural or artifical), it has limited ablilty to maintain the global climate, it can be covercome by a cumulative build-up of pollution.



posted on Jul, 8 2006 @ 05:24 PM
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How does one know when it's all cleaned up?
How do you know when you've eliminated the human-caused portion of
the greenhouse gasses?

Just for the record, we are having one of those dry thunderstorms as I type.
Last week, one caused this:



I took that photo from my backyard.

It was not from dryness, it was from wetness..we had a very wet spring. Lots of potential fuel sprouted and grew..Now it's a ripe as a jug of gasoline.

ok, now I would like to add, that yes, todays dry thunderstorm has created another wildfire. The air tankers are flying back and forth right now.


[edit on 8-7-2006 by spacedoubt]



posted on Jul, 10 2006 @ 11:06 AM
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It seems many responders to this post read the news article about the paper, but not the paper itself. The news article is misleading and does not report what the research paper claims. The corresponding editorial about this paper in Science Magazine also contradicts the actual paper.

The original research article says the increase in fires is greatest in areas least affected by fire suppression and land use. The paper also cautions not to blame global warming for the increase, but natural climatic variations are most likely a major contributor.



posted on Jul, 12 2006 @ 01:01 PM
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Originally posted by dave_54

The news article is misleading and does not report what the research paper claims. The corresponding editorial about this paper in Science Magazine also contradicts the actual paper.

The original research article says ...




Care to share any links?

BTW - legitimate science does not claim direct cause and effect. Which is why the headline says "linked to" not "caused by."

Think complex system.



posted on Jul, 12 2006 @ 10:20 PM
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Soficrow-

Yes, I heard that news story today, too. It is from global warming. Scientists predicted years ago, that if global warming continued, we would have increased forest fires, and it looks like they were right. And here is why:

All of us here in Arizona know that for the last few years, the winter temperatures aren't getting as cold. So, the "bark beetles" (the beetles that thrive in the pine forests here in Arizona), never die, and they are killing trees off at an accelerated rate. It's amazing how many trees are dying. Plus, the drought has something to do with it, too. The increased amount of bark beetles are killing off a lot of the forests, and now the forests are full of dead trees...dry timber. When the summer thunderstorms come, the lightning starts a lot of fires. (We have a lot of lightning here in Arizona, too.)

In the past, these fires didn't get out of control, because there wasn't so much dead wood around. But now that there are so many dead trees due to the bark beetles (and gobal warming). The amount of forest fires here is increasing every year. It's incredible...I don't know how they are going to find enough firemen if this keeps up.



posted on Jul, 12 2006 @ 10:49 PM
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Deer and Elk used to roam by the tens of millions in the California foothills. So did Native "Habitat Managers". Cut down the oak forests, graze cattle, introduce non-native invasive weeds, then export the cattle business and abandon the grasslands- and BAM! Climate in a holistic view includes the interaction of complex living systems. Notice the State isn't cutting the weeds along the freeways- due to "lack of funding"? I've seen some cities using "goat mowers"- a step in the right direction, but whitetail Deer (anybody been to Nara, Japan?) are cuter than goats, wildfires or stinky oily mowing machines and 2,4,D sprayers any day IMHO. In nature, Fire Happens- so get smart and don't build in its way.



posted on Jul, 13 2006 @ 12:11 AM
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Originally posted by Chakotay
Deer and Elk used to roam by the tens of millions in the California foothills. So did Native "Habitat Managers". Cut down the oak forests, graze cattle, introduce non-native invasive weeds, then export the cattle business and abandon the grasslands- and BAM! Climate in a holistic view includes the interaction of complex living systems. Notice the State isn't cutting the weeds along the freeways- due to "lack of funding"? I've seen some cities using "goat mowers"- a step in the right direction, but whitetail Deer (anybody been to Nara, Japan?) are cuter than goats, wildfires or stinky oily mowing machines and 2,4,D sprayers any day IMHO. In nature, Fire Happens- so get smart and don't build in its way.


Deer and elk still roam California. California has representatives of 4 North American elk species within the state. According to the state Fish and Game, there are about the same number of deer in California now as pre-European contact. They love residential landscaping. They also love clearcutting, but the eco-ignoratti don't want to admit that.

The largest remaining stand of old growth forest in the contiguous United States is in California -- the blue oak forest of the Sierra Nevada foothills covering 400 square miles. Most people don't recognize it as an old growth forest, but the structure and composition of the blue oak forest is the old growth form of that forest type.

Using goat and sheep to control brush is not a new idea -- the Greeks and Romans did it and there are some Biblical references to the practice. It was used in southern California in the 1950's or before. It didn't work out very well. It works in some localized situations, but is not a solution that can work everywhere.

The deer in California are not whitetail. California has Blacktail deer. Different species.

Fire happens? True. but unless you live on a boat in the middle of a natural lake the land underneath your house burned periodically. I know you would not want to be a hypocrite and impose conditions on others you are not willing to suffer yourself, so post your address here and I will send someone over with gasoline and a highway flare.



A true account of using goats for brush control in the Angeles National Forest is found here:

www.fsx.org...

Scroll down to "Masterpieces from the Mt. Baldy District Ranger". Anselmo Lewis had a gift for colorful writing of dry government memos.


[edit on 13-7-2006 by dave_54]



posted on Jul, 13 2006 @ 12:55 AM
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I look to the fact that so many wildfires are raging means the varpor currents are not bringing in rain. This is starting to happen in Alabama, Georgia, parts of Lousisana, Missassippi, Tennessee and the Carolinas. High pressure systems usually park over the Atlantic and bring rain to the southeast. But with just a slight increase is global tempearture the High is parked over the southeast and another over the west. Watching the weather maps nightly shows the systems are move but it's more of a wobble than the normal flow that brings constant changing condiditions. I was normal to see things backup in mid August and then the fronts would move down in September. So normally only August would see a longer dry season. May, June and July tend to see the most rain. It won't be long until we start to see more fires in the southeast as we are just entering critical in some areas.



posted on Jul, 13 2006 @ 03:03 AM
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In California we have had the problem with the bark beetle as well, and for a while now too. We also have this sudden oak death that is killing off all the oak as well. Everything combined makes for a tinderbox.

kellylab.berkeley.edu...



posted on Jul, 13 2006 @ 05:08 AM
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I think that the jet stream has shifted north and hasn't brought as much moisture south as it has in the past making the landscape more dry.




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