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Earth Science

Studies: Wildfires Worse Due To Global Warming 379

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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @05:17PM (#47033795)
    Wow first four comments are global warming deniers and all post within six minutes. Earn that pay, boys!
  • by Pino Grigio ( 2232472 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @05:26PM (#47033865)
    The first post criticising a "denier" is made by an anonymous coward. Remarkable.
  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @05:42PM (#47033973) Homepage Journal

    Climate change is consequence of global warming. And that "warming" is not one that you would easily notice (a few tenths of degrees in the average global temperature each year), but still have effects everywhere, including (and changing) the climate. And if you want, that warming is caused in a good degree by human activity, incrementing the percent of some greenhouse gases (like CO2) in the atmosphere. And it have more consequences than just incrementing temperature, like ocean acidification.

    How you make people aware of slow, hard to notice small changes in global trends? Pointing out some of the most visible consequences as they are being discovered/correlated etc. If i tell you that CO2 in atmosphere increased a 100% and you see the air around you normal, you won't worry about it. If i tell you that the average global temperature increased 1-2 C, you see local weather events, see that nothing really big changed (or worse, that in some regions were colder than in other years) and still won't care/do anything about it. So the effort is showing you that there are visible things that hits you that are consequences of those otherwise hard to see (in a short time span, in a narrow geographical sense) trends.

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @05:43PM (#47033979)

    Did global warming also cause the fact that there weren't any wildfires last month?

  • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @05:59PM (#47034073)
    Is a period of one month: a) short-term, or b) long-term?
  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:07PM (#47034103)
    First off, I am *not* a climate change denier.

    That said, wildfires are a very complicated topic and man is responsible for their increased size and devastation. However the man made activity that has a huge impact here is fire fighting. This has been known for many decades. The problem is that the natural cycle of fires leads to smaller fires. These smaller fires prevent fuel from accumulating and they provide a patchwork of natural firebreaks to a degree. Our habit of stomping out every single fire as it starts just leads to more and more fuel accumulating over larger and larger areas. The result is the larger and more devastating fires.

    Preventing the natural burn cycle sets us up for larger fires. We need to be more strategic about our fire fighting in rural and wilderness settings.
  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:10PM (#47034117)

    A month lasts longer than a fire. How about we just stop pretending singular events like fires are climate?

  • by MrBigInThePants ( 624986 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:10PM (#47034119)
    Very true and very few scientists would ever suggest that.

    What it typically means you devote your life to pursuing the truth of some small aspect of the universe and study, test and discuss the various theories surrounding this area.This means that you can be considered an expert on the subject.

    The "others" are a bunch of people who pull opinions out of their arse at best or purposely malign the truth for their own ends at worst.

    For you to say such things betrays a level of ignorance that is truly awesome to behold - assuming you are not just trolling for the sake of it which just makes you a common garden variety douche bag. Regardless of your own insignificant thoughts and motivations the thought process you describe appears to be a relatively common one.

    But fear not, the reasons for your ignorance and/or troll-like behaviour is something studied, tested and discussed in the field of psychology by scientists!
  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:12PM (#47034129) Homepage Journal

    We don't, do we? We measure the number of them, and their severity, over a period of months.

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:29PM (#47034217)

    Wow first four comments are global warming deniers and all post within six minutes. Earn that pay, boys!

    Sorry, AC. But the deniers of science here are those who deny the effect of fire suppression policies and land management policies. Sometimes it really is the politics.

    The huge factors here are (1) fire suppression policies not allowing natural burn cycles to occur, fuel unnaturally accumulates and it does so over larger areas and (2) land management where people are allowed to build in fire prone areas but not allowed to clear brush to a "safe" distance. The result is larger fires and fires that are a high risk to homes.

    CO2 is only one of many man made problems and it is not always the leading contributor.

  • by tmosley ( 996283 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:29PM (#47034221)
    Yeah, but California has ALWAYS been drier than it was for the last century. 500 year droughts were not uncommon. Using a drought in the fucking Sahara as evidence for your theory shows that your methodology is very, very flawed, and should bring closer scrutiny. But it doesn't, because the field is 100% politicized and no-one is REALLY interested in science.
  • Let's make a deal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:41PM (#47034287)

    Let's make a deal, global warming (or climate change, or whatever the buzzword of the week) deniers: You can keep your SUVs, your ACs turned to 60 degrees and all your other toys. And once the waters rise you drown like good old idiots and don't try to climb up on my mountains.


  • Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:42PM (#47034309)

    As someone that has been in regions where these wildfires have happened, I can tell you it is actually bad forest management.

    Here's the thing. In nature, forests burn on occasion. Always have. Its part of the natural process. Some species either actively encourage the fires or rely upon the fires as part of their life cycle.

    Okay, now that it is established that if left alone the forests will occasionally burn... what happens if you don't cut trees down and cut brush back on occasion and instead just leave the whole thing to take care of itself.

    It burns.

    I live in California and that has been the cause of most of our wild fires. We used to have forest management to the extent that we would subcontract logging companies to go through the forests and thin them out a bit so there was room for new growth and the whole forest didn't go up like a roman candle every 10-30 years (depends on the plant species and local climate).

    Well, that was stopped and the logging companies aren't allowed to operate in our forests anymore because they're not environmentally friendly.

    Fine... you're now putting nature in charge. And nature is going to burn that fucker down on its own schedule.

    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. They are caused by moronic forest management that is itself guided by crystal rubbing mystics that will say out of one side of their mouth that the environment is harmed by direct human management and then say out of the other side that nature's natural processes are all our fault.

    These people are idiots.

    And just to preempt the first fucktard that responds to this post saying I have his misguided asshattery wrong... I don't. I live here. I've seen this happen over years. I saw was we were doing before. I saw what you did, I watched the forest prime itself like a coiling spring, I saw the fires, I watched the clean up, and I've been listening to you same slack-jawed halfwits ever since point fingers at anyone besides yourselves.

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

  • by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:46PM (#47034321) Homepage

    Love how your claims are "truth" by simple declaration, and others' are of course merely claims, even when they're agreeing with a peer-reviewed study.

    Why don't you try and rebut the actual study, if you're so sure it's wrong? Or at least attempt toprovide a modicum of evidence to make your own claims look a little less like yet another soapbox rant.

  • by OneAhead ( 1495535 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:51PM (#47034367)
    In case it wasn't clear, wildfires are predominantly caused by accumulation of a sufficiently large amount of sufficiently dry combustible material. Once it's there, it will inevitably catch fire one day or another, arson or not. And climate change has the potential to modulate that "sufficiently dry" attribute. It is equally true that humanity is actively modulating the "sufficiently large amount" attribute (for example by suppressing small undergrowth fires and by not cutting the undergrowth that would otherwise be removed by these fires), which doesn't make things any better. But arson has relatively little to do with it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:51PM (#47034369)

    Well, global warming probably contributed to these fires.

    After all, the globe usually warms once a year, usually in the spring season.

  • by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:01PM (#47034425)

    Let's make a deal, global warming (or climate change, or whatever the buzzword of the week) deniers: You can keep your SUVs, your ACs turned to 60 degrees and all your other toys. And once the waters rise you drown like good old idiots and don't try to climb up on my mountains.

    I don't own an SUV and I have yet to turn my AC on this year and I live 650 miles away from the nearest ocean and I still think this article is utter bullshit. Failed forest management policies cause wildfires. End of story. Any signal from the climate is completely overwhelmed by the policies of clowns who think the "natural" way is by definition better.

    Who trusted God was love indeed
    And love Creation's final law
    Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
    With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

    —Alfred Lord Tennyson

  • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:26PM (#47034567)

    I agree with your overall sentiment. In many cases it is beyond a joke and misguided attempts to help the environment often hurt it, as is the case with banning the disturbance of brush around homes and communities.

    While you are correct that the banning of DDT was at the time unfounded scientifically--the egg shells seemed to be thinning that year generally and may not have had anything to do with DDT, but alas it was never really researched. However, had DDT continued to be used on the scale that it was, modern research has showed that mosquitoes would have adapted and become resistant in just a couple of years, ending the use of DDT anyway. Put in another way, banning DDT did *not* directly lead to the deaths of millions of people. Perhaps banning DDT was even a benefit, because now it is used by some countries, on a much smaller scale, to a good effect in controlling malaria.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday May 18, 2014 @08:59PM (#47035011) Homepage Journal

    Precisely the problem. The Greens have prevented the kind of land management you need in order to prevent brushfires spreading.

    This is a bunch of ignorant cockery. The rich have prevented etc etc. They're the ones who buy the big spreads in the hills and then sue to prevent anyone from carrying out controller burns which might affect their views. And they're the ones who buy the laws which control the building codes which permit people to build flammable homes in the middle of a forest in the first place, which is just goddamned ignorant. We have many different kinds of homes which are not vulnerable to forest fire with adequate clearing including compressed straw bale (the straw is compressed, and covered with stucco) and earth bag, to name two of the cheapest with the least environmental impact. The greens would love to build homes like that, but they typically aren't permitted to by building codes.

  • by jackspenn ( 682188 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @11:56PM (#47035699)

    area burned by the West's largest wildfires — those of more than 1,000 acres — have increased by about 87,700 acres a yea

    So here is the problem with libtards, they create a problem and then use selective results that are actually the result of their own BS as proof, more of what they want, needs to be done.

    This is true with the wild fires and the selection of data to help show how bad Global Warming is getting. The government back in the 90s decided their brilliant fire policies could be even more brilliant. Instead of letting small fires burn (some seeds and bugs only grow/hatch after a fire), but no no no, people in universities and in Washington, these intellectuals, were smarter than nature or those western ranching folks with no college degree. See these collectivists were so smart they said "New policy let's put every fire out ASAP". "Oh, and no you cannot remove brush and grass and 'fuel' that would normally have been periodically consumed and used up and removed". Instead the new "intellectuals" said "protect nature" ... by acting in an unnatural way. So all these little fires were put out and things looked so good ( ... in the short-term), that I am sure they patted themselves on the back and were like "Boy are we awesome, we are so much smarter than that farmer who said this was a dangerous idea".

    So the fuel just built up everywhere and then when something happens to ignite it, be it lightening or a cigarette, the little fires have a greater probability of becoming bigger fires. Time means more fuel, greater risk. Tick tick tick. So then after awhile we get these huge fires. What do those smart intellectuals do? Do they review their suggestions of the past? Take into account the bureaucratic BS that contributed to these fires? No! First, they smoke a bowl and later .... they say "Let's help that farmer who lost his ranch. Let's help those people who lost there homes. Let's explain to them that it is all mankind's fault." They then go on to explain BS like carbon foot prints and how that is why fires are worse. It is also why flooding is worse or droughts or pretty much anything, and the only way to fix it is to accept global collectivism. Yup, only with global collectivism can we prevent forest fires.

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray