Forest fires to increase in number as climate changes continue to affect all elements and determine hotter, larger wildfires and more frequent floods.
Researchers from New York’s Columbia University and the University of Idaho revealed, on Monday, a study that demonstrated the relation between the rising in global temperatures and the ever increasing fire activity that has been affecting the United States, especially in its western half, over the past 30 years.
According to the study’s lead author, geography professor John Abatzoglu, the reasearch goes to demonstrate in numbers what concerned officials such as firefighters and public officials have been stating and trying to bring up for years. That is, the study results show that wildfires are not only burning hotter, they are also burning and spreading faster as their actual dimension can come to be twice the size they reached say 30 years ago.
As over the past years the number of forest fires has continued increasing and some are even calling this the “new normal”, people have started searching for reasons that would explain the new intensity and aggressive nature of the fires, and words like climate change and world temperature were quick to appear.
As the new study has determined, the average temperatures registered in the western forests area have increased, since the 1970’s, with almost 2.5 degrees, a staggering value.
This could potentially explain why more and more forested areas are catching fire and spreading wildfires faster than ever before registers can remember. The cause would be the warmer air, determined by the increased temperatures, which holds more moisture, which itself is sucked from the surrounding greenery such as the plants, trees or even from soil or dead vegetation.
Unfortunately, as the study’s bioclimatologist proceeds to warn, there is not much man can do in the face of nature’s as wildfires are likely to get bigger and hotter the more the planet’s temperature rises.
Although it is true that weather patterns have shown a decrease in the number of storms, which effectively plunged the western parts of the country into an unending drought, man has unwittingly aided in spreading the fires.
The researchers have gone to show that firefighters are unwillingly helping wildfires when putting out the forest fires. This apparent contradiction meets an explanation in the fact that the fire suppressions leave behind dry fuel that is quicker to catch fire the next time.
As the human-influenced changes in climate will continue to generate fires for decades to come, the number of massive fires will increase in both area and frequency and will eventually lead to a forest fragmentation that could potentially stop their spreading.
However, as that is a far-away point in the future that no one should hope to reach, data predicts more extreme weather as aridity levels will continue to increase on a coast just as water levels are expected to rise on the other.
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