Climate Change and Wildfires

Much is being made about how anthropogenic global warming is causing all those wildfires in California.  Cliff Mass had a different view [emphasis in the original].

there is a lot misinformation going around in the media, some environmental advocacy groups, and some politicians.   The story can’t be a simply that warming is increasing the numbers of wildfires in California because the number of fires is declining.  And area burned has not been increasing either.

And [emphasis added]

[N]ow we get into the real interesting questions that many are not considering.   What is driving the ups and downs in wildfires?  There are so many factors that must be considered, such as:

  1. The fact that extensive fires are a natural historical part of the ecology of the region
  2. The impacts of a huge increase of human population, creating increasing vulnerability while humans are starting most of the fires.
  3. Climate change that causes warming and changing the precipitation patterns (both wetter and drier) that influence fire frequency and size.
  4. Mismanagement of our forests and wild areas, allowing tree and debris-choked landscapes
  5. Invasive and often highly flammable non-native species brought in by man (e.g., cheatgrass and Eucalyptus)

Clearly, climate change is only one possible factor in controlling fire frequency and may not be the most important.

Indeed, our climate has been warming for the 4.5+ billion years of Earth’s existence.  Our sun has been heating up for the 4.5++ billion years of its existence.

But the, actual facts have never interested global not-warming deniers.


h/t Watts Up With That?

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