Connect the dots: Fires are result of global warming
Wildfire season is longer, fires more intense, and their range has spread. It’s not just California burning hotter than ever, remember Virginia and Alberta last year? Europe? Even arctic regions like Siberia are burning. Yet the media only in passing connect the dots to global warming.
Global warming is simple science. Dump billions of tons of carbon and methane – known greenhouse gases – into the atmosphere each year and those gases trap heat and warm the globe. Hotter air holds more moisture. Hotter oceans give up more. This increases the likelihood of floods, droughts, severe storms and wildfires. The poles have warmed up more than the rest of the planet. The circulatory pull between pole and equator is weaker. The jet stream is more sluggish (the Gulf Stream also). Weather, storms, droughts linger longer.
The Union of Concerned Scientists reports that average temperatures in the West are up 1.9 degrees since 1970, snowpacks melt sooner so forests are drier, major wildfires are up four times, burn more than six times the land area, and last almost five times as long.
People defending the fossil fuel industry love to blame the burning earth entirely on “not enough logging.” As the USC points out, even areas sheltered by human land-use decisions like Yosemite Park are burning; it’s the prolonged droughts driving these fires.
If the news keeps covering the rapidly changing climate like a random act of God, the public will keep missing the main story of time: global warming, fossil fuel and the petrochemical industries.