US In a Warming California, a Future of More Fire

02:42  08 december  2017
02:42  08 december  2017 Source:   nytimes.com

Cities where winter temperatures are warming up the most

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But more generally, many climate change forecasts suggest that there will be less rain in Southern California in the fall in the future , and more The gradual warming caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases makes fires more likely across the planet, as warmer air dries

But more generally, many climate change forecasts suggest that there will be less rain in Southern California in the fall in the future , and more The gradual warming caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases makes fires more likely across the planet, as warmer air dries

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Severe wildfire seasons like the one that has devastated California this fall may occur more frequently because of climate change, scientists say.

“This is looking like the type of year that might occur more often in the future,” said A. Park Williams, a climate scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y.

A man tries to mimic a TV stunt -- and sets off a massive fire that damages town

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nytimes.com. Want the latest climate news in your inbox? You can sign up here to receive Climate Fwd:, our new email newsletter. Severe wildfire seasons like the one that has devastated California this fall may occur more frequently because of climate change, scientists say.

But more generally, many climate change forecasts suggest that there will be less rain in Southern California in the fall in the future , and more The gradual warming caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases makes fires more likely across the planet, as warmer air dries

The reason is an expected impact of climate change in California: increasing year-to-year variability in temperature and precipitation that will create greater contrast between drought years and wet years. And that can lead to much greater fire risk.

That contrast has occurred this decade in the state, where years of drought were followed last winter by very wet weather that led to a bumper crop of grasses and other vegetation.

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That season was followed this year by more dryness: a hot, desiccating summer and fall that turned all the vegetation into tinder. Coupled with strong, warm winds, the fire risk was extreme. The resulting blazes destroyed parts of Santa Rosa and other communities in the north and now threaten greater Los Angeles.

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  Arctic sea ice melt to exacerbate California droughts: study <p>Melting Arctic sea ice could render sun-soaked California vulnerable to a recurrence of the severe drought suffered in recent years as it is likely to cause high pressure systems that push away rain-bearing storms, a study released on Tuesday said.</p>Melting Arctic sea ice could render sun-soaked California vulnerable to a recurrence of the severe drought suffered in recent years as it is likely to cause high pressure systems that push away rain-bearing storms, a study released on Tuesday said.

The recent cycle of drought and deluge in California led to major fire risk. Climate change makes that cycle worse. Related articles more from author.

But more generally, many climate change forecasts suggest that there will be less rain in Southern California in the fall in the future , and more The gradual warming caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases makes fires more likely across the planet, as warmer air dries

“For fires, sequencing is really important,” said Alex Hall, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The sequence we’ve seen over the past five or six years is certainly very similar to the changes that we project as climate change continues to unfold.”

It is too early to know if climate change is directly responsible for all of these conditions in California over the past several years. But studies, including one led by Dr. Williams, have shown that human-induced global warming contributed to the drought that gripped the state beginning in 2012.

Wildfires in coastal California are not uncommon because the strong winds — known as Diablo winds in the north and Santa Anas in the south — descend from the high desert of Utah and Nevada and blow from October into the winter. Fire season usually ends around October, when autumn rains eliminate the threat.

California wildfires: The numbers behind the blazes

  California wildfires: The numbers behind the blazes A spate of California wildfires have destroyed an area larger than New York City and Boston -- combined. And there's no end in sight. Ferocious Santa Ana winds are literally adding fuel to the fires, one week after the colossal Thomas Fire started.

Home Reinhub NYT > Science In a Warming California , a Future of More Fire .

http://sharpheadlines.com/en/story.php?title= in - a - warming - california - a - future - of - more - fire The recent cycle of drought and deluge in California led to major fire risk. Climate change makes that cycle worse.

But this year in Southern California, those rains have not arrived yet. “It’s as if it is still summer in Southern California when it comes to fire risk,” Dr. Hall said.

Climate change may not be to blame for this. Meteorologists suggest a ridge of air over the Pacific Northwest, perhaps related to the cooling of Pacific waters under current La Niña conditions, is the likely culprit. But more generally, many climate change forecasts suggest that there will be less rain in Southern California in the fall in the future, and more rain in December and January. That means fires could continue later into the fall, greatly extending the fire risk season.

The gradual warming caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases makes fires more likely across the planet, as warmer air dries the soil and vegetation more, allowing it to ignite more readily. California is no exception: average annual temperatures in the state have increased by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, and the Central Valley and Southern California have warmed even more.

Custer State Park fire forces evacuations in South Dakota

  Custer State Park fire forces evacuations in South Dakota The extreme wildfire threat isn't just confined to California this week. A fast-growing wildfire at South Dakota's largest state park forced evacuations on Monday, officials said. The Legion Lake Fire at Custer State Park in the Black Hills had consumed over 2,500 acres and was zero percent contained, according to a press release tweeted out by Custer State Park around 5:30 Monday night.&nbsp;The extreme wildfire threat isn't just confined to Californiathis week. A fast-growing wildfire at South Dakota's largest state park forced evacuations on Monday, officials said.

California is no exception: average annual temperatures in the state have increased by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, and the Central Valley and Southern California have warmed even more .Video. 4 Reasons California ’s Fires Are So Bad This Year.

"What should make Southern California fearful is that climate change could mean a future of more frequent and more intense wildfires." Firefighters monitor a section of the Thomas Fire along the 101 freeway on December 7, 2017 north of Ventura, California .

While climate change models suggest that the state’s climate will remain variable — some even suggest that the northern Sierra Nevada will see more precipitation in the future — “whatever happens it’s all superimposed on a warmer world,” Dr. Williams said. California is going to continue to need more precipitation, he added, as warming leads to more water loss through evaporation.

Climate change may affect fires in the state in other ways. While there is conflicting evidence as to whether Santa Ana and Diablo winds are becoming more frequent, Dr. Hall said that they should become drier as the planet warms, because warmer air over the high desert of Utah and Nevada has lower relative humidity and will become drier still as it descends into California. Drier air leads to more desiccation and greater fire risk.

And a paper published this week suggests that even Arctic sea ice may play a role in California wildfires by contributing to droughts. The analysis, by scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and other institutions, argues that loss of sea ice at the pole may be affecting atmospheric circulation and blocking winter storms from reaching the state.

Dr. Williams said his research suggested another reason that California fires may be getting worse: the vast expansion of urban areas that has taken place in the state over decades. In addition to putting more people at risk, the added heat in those urban areas from human activities — known as the heat-island effect — is reducing summer cloud cover, according to airport records across the state.

“While people don’t like those clouds, they are probably extremely important for vegetation,” Dr. Williams said, by providing shade and helping the plants retain moisture.

“We can see that summer clouds are disappearing,” he added. “By the time fall fire season comes around, the fuels probably have less moisture.”

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Colossal California fire now 4th largest in state history .
The colossal wildfire burning northwest of Los Angeles became the fourth largest in California history and authorities said it would likely keep growing and threatening communities as hot, gusty winds fanned the flames.State officials said Thursday that the so-called Thomas Fire straddling coastal Ventura and Santa Barbara counties covered 379 square miles (982 square kilometers). That surpassed a blaze that burned inland Santa Barbara County a decade ago.Some evacuations were lifted and the risk to the agricultural city of Fillmore was diminishing.

Source: http://us.pressfrom.com/news/us/-104960-in-a-warming-california-a-future-of-more-fire/

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