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Earth Science

Studies: Wildfires Worse Due To Global Warming 379

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to scientists we can look forward to more devastating wildfires like the ones scorching Southern California because of global warming. "The fires in California and here in Arizona are a clear example of what happens as the Earth warms, particularly as the West warms, and the warming caused by humans is making fire season longer and longer with each decade," said University of Arizona geoscientist Jonathan Overpeck. "It's certainly an example of what we'll see more of in the future.""
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Studies: Wildfires Worse Due To Global Warming

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  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:12PM (#47033775)

    Any time someone says "look how bad winter was" they are (rightfully) chided for treating a variation in weather as being "climate".

    Well who does not remember years and years of past California wildfires. Guess what, drought happens. You can't declare one "climate change" just because it's scary.

    And you can't even see that climate change makes drought more likely without way more data than we have. A warmer climate could mean some areas are dryer, others wetter. But actually overall it would mean more moisture in the system, not less...

  • No, no it's not. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Etcetera (14711) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:23PM (#47033837) Homepage

    First of all, it's "climate change" now and not "global warming"... some spots are having much cooler temperatures instead.

    Secondly, droughts happen. The history of California is the history of water politics mainly because most of SoCal is a semi-arid desert. San Diego in particular has a giant desert separating us from the rest of the country -- even LA.

    Thirdly, unless you've just moved to San Diego, you're quite aware of the 2003 and 2007 fires. These were (also) not the result of global warming.

    Fourthly, there's good reason to believe that at least some of the ones this week were started by (d-bag) arsonists.

    It's over-broad statements like this from "scientists" that give credence to the assertion that climate scientists are thinking with the social policy side of their brains instead of the factual side. /signed
    Native San Diegan; MRC/former CERT member; non-scientist.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:48PM (#47034009)

    There can be many reasons why there are more fires - chief among them is simply there are lots more people, also more in the wilderness now than before and people start fires.

    Note they just said fires are getting worse, not that droughts are... and even the fire things is mostly true of California, not the west in general.

    But I see from my moderation that truth is unpopular today, so I will let you call continue to wail and gnash teeth while the sane among us roll our eyes...

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @05:19PM (#47034161)
    Just to clarify my comment: I wasn't referring to winter. I was referring to the characterization of California fires as caused by "global warming", when the warm temperatures there are localized and far from true in the rest of the U.S.

    It illustrates exactly how alarmists have grasped at anything out of the ordinary and tried to attribute it to "climate change". But when looking at climate, one has to look at the larger picture. Neither short-term phenomena or localized events are "climate". And in fact extreme weather events have been on a downward trend since the earlier part of the 20th Century, despite the predictions of the "alarmists".

    Another record that was set recently was the time it has been in the U.S. since a major hurricane. It has been longer than at any time since records have been kept. (And FYI, before you jump to correct: Sandy was not classified as a major hurricane. It just hit more populated area than usual.)
  • Re:No, no it's not. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gtall (79522) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:20PM (#47034533)

    "How you make people aware of slow, hard to notice small changes in global trends?"

    Ans: pay attention to Miami. The city administration is making plans for sea level rise. It isn't because they expect it, it is because it is already happening and costing them money. There are similar problems in Norfolk, but there the county Republicans have passed resolutions saying it isn't happening, so they don't have to do anything. The Navy, however, with a big base there, is making plans. Hmmm...the Navy? Those clear-eyed sailors of the ocean blue...whose job it is to understand the seas...who spend a lot of money on oceanography and just about everything that effects their operation...them? Yup. It seems they have no problems with assessing climate change and are even attempting to do their part and develop propulsion systems that do not add carbon to the atmosphere. And who would oppose that? Why those scientists who are masquerading as Republicans in Congress. It seems they are upset at the Navy for not declaring carbon is not a problem and they should sit on their arses while the basis of their operation is changing.

  • No-One is a "Denier" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:47PM (#47034659)

    First off, I am *not* a climate change denier.

    Of course the climate is changing. The real question is are the changes such that we need to try and implement measures to stop them?

    Articles like this are from the Warmists, wishing to use tools of Fear to scare us into thinking that we must.

    But you yourself note in this aspect a rational reason why we need not be more scared of forest fires because of climate change, when more sensible fire policy would have a far more dramatic impact.

    Now think of all the OTHER times someone tried to scare you with climate change. For each of those times there was a person like yourself pointing out why the fear was irrational ad unwarranted.

    Far from being a "denier", those trying to counteract acts of raw fear mongering are helping to participate in REAL science, deciding what is actually a problem from climate change and what is not. To refer to the mere act of questioning as "denial" is a form of propaganda, and going forward I hope you and others when you head the rem "denier" used will use your own experience where to question the people who feel the need to use such a dismissive term against ideological opponents...

  • Yes, yes it is. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:51PM (#47034977) Homepage Journal

    First of all, it's "climate change" now and not "global warming"... some spots are having much cooler temperatures instead.

    It's still global warming, in spite of republican efforts to relabel it climate change. Stop prevaricating.

    Secondly, droughts happen.

    Red herring. That's totally orthogonal to this point. Stop prevaricating. Also, the current drought is unusual even in Northern California, where the water comes from. You didn't even bother to mention that, most likely because it's inconvenient to your point. Stop prevaricating.

    unless you've just moved to San Diego, you're quite aware of the 2003 and 2007 fires. These were (also) not the result of global warming.

    This is about global warming making wildfires more likely and worse, not about global warming making wildfires possible. Stop prevaricating.

    Fourthly, there's good reason to believe that at least some of the ones this week were started by (d-bag) arsonists.

    See last point. Stop prevaricating.

    It's over-broad statements like this from "scientists" that give credence to the assertion that climate scientists are thinking with the social policy side of their brains instead of the factual side.

    No, it's stupid shit like you just posted that lets stupid people feel smug about stupid decisions even though they have nothing to be smug about.

    /signed
    Native San Diegan; MRC/former CERT member; non-scientist.

    I personally am in favor of the scientific process. You might consider accepting it as well.

  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:56PM (#47034999) Homepage Journal

    Global warming might have something to do with this sort of thing but it is NOT what is causing the vast majority of forest fires in the US.

    That's not what the article said. I know this is slashdot, but you could try reading the article. If you don't understand it the first time, odds are the problem is you, and you should try a few more times.

    They are caused by moronic forest management that is itself guided by crystal rubbing mystics

    Ahh, this is all a rant against woo. I was wondering what you were so angry about. Did you get turned down for sex by a hippie today?

    Do the Earth a favor and listen more and talk less.

    Take your own advice, and read the fine article instead of flapping your yap. What the article said, and it's true, is that global warming makes fires more likely and it exacerbates them as well. On a hotter day, a fire spreads faster. If you don't know that, you know fuck-all about fires.

    Also, you're not an expert because you're a Californian. I don't know you're wrong because I'm a Californian, I just know you're wrong because I pay attention and I ask questions.

  • by jackspenn (682188) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @10:22PM (#47035585)
    Are you sure the more frequent larger fires aren't actually the result of past fire prevention? I know some fire fighters and park rangers who told me that policy changes in the 90s prevented them from letting small fires go naturally (these fires weren't even important enough to make the national news). Instead the policy was modified to "Put all observed fires out ASAP." In addition they were banned from removing brush that would normally have been consumed by these smaller fires. I remember them saying that if not changed the policies would lead to bigger fires in the future. A sorta pay for it later mess. So my question is, if it is fair to say many "Scientist" claim fire increases are because of "climate change", is it not fair to say there are "Philosophers" who reason fire increases are because of "bureaucratic BS"?
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @11:52PM (#47035897) Journal

    ... according to the article there has been a three-decade pattern of fires getting worse in the West:

    And the reason for that is well known, and has nothing to do with global warming.

    It is caused by environmentalist interference in land management. The major factors are;
      - Fuel load: Logging is stopped, or delayed for decades by lawsuits, even of diseased and fallen trees, which are left to rot. Brush clearing, deemed "unnatural", is also stopped. LOTS of little trees and weeds grow up between the big trees. When a fire finally starts, it soreads rapidly and burns big and hot, and is very hard to control. The hot burning sterillizes the ground, killing many types of seeds that would otherwise have fueled a post-fire recovery.
      - Access restriction: Loggers and other visitors to the area are the main source of reports of fires when they're still tiny. With logging stopped and most recreational uses banned the woods are essentially deserted. A fire that would have been spotted in tens of minutes might have as much as days to grow before it is discovered. Once it IS discovered, the lack of roads and lack of clearng of those paths still there impedes fire-fighting: Regular equipment, or even four-wheel-drive SUV-based, fire equipment can't access much of the area, and must leave those areas it can access early, to avoid being trapped.

    I think it's ludicrous that the blame for the anthropogenic forest fire severity increase is being deflected from the policies and policy-makers that caused it and simultaneously being used as additional "evidence" for global warming. It's tactics like this that cause people to distrust global warming claims.

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