Half of forest fires deemed to be effect of man-made climate change

A new study suggests that half of forest fire quantity is caused by man induced climate change.

Lila Alexander | Oct 05, 2016

A new study suggests that half of forest fire quantity is caused by man induced climate change.

Thestudy comes from climate modelers and scientists at the Lamont - Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and the University of Idaho. Researchers there have positedthat climate change induced by human activity (better termed as anthropogenic climate change) has doubled the expansion of wildfires in the western portion of the United States of America over approximately the last four decades.

The areas of the Americas specified in the report were the northern Rocky Mountain territories that cross Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and the Pacific Northwest, includingthe Cascade Mountains in eastern Oregon and eastern Washington.

"These are all areas where fires were especially influenced by climate change," explainedLDEO bioclimatologist and co-author of the report, Park Williams. "Most things tend to be influenced pretty slowly by climate change. But forest fires are one of the systems on the planet that are showing a very strong effect."

The report, which was published Monday in PNAS, recorded attempts from Williams and colleague, John Abatzoglou, to measure the effects of anthropogenic climate change on forest fires in the western portion of the United States. Williams and Abatzoglou siphoned data from climate models for their analysis in order to determine fuel aridity, or the ability of dryness to turn trees into tinder. Williams and Abatzoglou implemented eight separate commonly used models in their work.

 

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