Global Warming Linked To Forest Fires

Findings from a new study indicate that the increasing number of forest fires in the West may be due to global warming.

"Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Arizona examined 34 years of forest fire reports in 11 Western states and found the number of fires increased in size and severity since 1987, the same year that spring and summer temperatures began to rise.

'It's a very good snapshot of what's been happening in the Western forests over the past three decades,' said lead author Anthony Westerling, a fire climatologist at UC Merced."

"Forestry officials have debated for years whether climate change or forest management policies have been contributing more to the recent conflagrations in the Western forests."

Full Story: Climate change link seen in surge of Western blazes



It Did Not Say "May Be" Due to Global Warming

The article said that this study shows an increase in forest fires IS due to global warming, not that it MAY BE due to global warming. Here are a few quotes:

"Rising temperatures and earlier melting of snowpacks have sharply increased the number of Western wildfires"

"The reason is simple: Warmer springs and longer dry seasons are creating more kindling in the Western woods, the researchers say."

"The study establishes a link between the increase in forest fires and the changing climate, said Steven Running, a professor in the School of Forestry at the University of Montana who wrote an accompanying article about the report for Science."

The study did not look at whether climate global warming is caused by human activity. The article said there is still debate about whether global warming or forest management practices does more to cause the increase in forest fires. But it does say that it is clearly established that global warming has contributed to the increase in forest fires.

Charles Siegel

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