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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

  Cities where winter temperatures are warming up the most City that saw the most warming was Burlington, Vermont, where average winter temps rose 7.0°F in the last 47 years, report saysNew analysis released Thursday by research institute Climate Central shows that, since 1970, average wintertime temperatures in Minnesota and Wisconsin are warming faster than almost any other area of the United States.

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

This isn't the result of global warming . Firefighters are already reporting tell tale signs of arson that's being covered up ..It's good to have connections. 6 fires at one time is global warming ? .

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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

  A man tries to mimic a TV stunt -- and sets off a massive fire that damages town The fire damaged 32 buildings, displaced at least 18 people and forced the city to declare a state of emergency. And it all began, officials say, because a man wanted to imitate a stunt he'd seen on TV. The fire broke out Thursday in a neighborhood in Cohoes, New York. The man was trying to bend metal with fire in a barrel, said Cohoes Fire Department Chief Joseph Fahd. He was trying to create a sword -- something he'd seen done in the TV show, "Forged in Fire." The reality show pits bladesmiths against each other as they compete to recreate historical weapons. But it was very windy that day.

Warming winter temperatures have caused more of California ’s winters to be full of rain rather than snow, leading the more than 1,000 dams that the state A lot of the changes are already baked into our climate’s future . A lot of these changes are coming soon for Californians , regardless of how we

A spot fire in Casitas Springs, Calif., December 2017.CreditCreditHilary Swift for The New York Times. “Megafire” may be the more engaging of the two books, but I also found it to be the more downbeat — although unintentionally so. In a Warming California , a Future of More Fire .

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.

Arctic sea ice melt to exacerbate California droughts: study

  Arctic sea ice melt to exacerbate California droughts: study 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.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.

California recorded 9,560 wildfires in 2017 – about 2,000 more than the year before, according to the US Forest Service. Firefighters try to limit the spread of the Carr Fire by backburning, a process by which areas in the path of a fire are burned up in advance to rob the fire of its fuel.

More Coverage From The Times of the California Fires : Follow live updates today here. What to take and when to evacuate. ‘It Burns and It Keeps Burning’: Scenes From Southern California ’s Maps: Where the Fires Are Spreading in Southern California . In a Warming California , a Future of Flames.

“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.

Dana Nuccitelli: California is burning in December. Climate scientists predicted global warming will make Christmas wildfires more commonplace.

Experts say the state’s increasingly ferocious wildfires are not an aberration – they are the new reality.

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. 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.

The 2017 California wildfire season was the most destructive wildfire season on record, which saw multiple wildfires burning across California .

Increasing fires and summer droughts caused by global warming are drastically changing a globally unique bio-region of northern California and Looking to the future , Thompson adds, "As the climate continues to warm , big severe wildfires will be more frequent, and the dry conditions that follow will

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.

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