There are still arguments whether or not global warming has contributed to the onslaught of wildfires in California that certainly appear to be getting worse. As a matter of fact, I read an article that suggested it is because of invading populations of people moving into fire prone areas, and/or forest management practices instead. But a scientific paper published a year ago stated “that the changing climate was a greater influence on wildfire activity and intensity than forest management.” http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/Global-Warming-California-Wildfire-47102305.
As for people moving into fire prone areas, sure there would be more likelihood of fires, and more property damage, but Mother Nature is seriously contributing to the wildfire fiasco with a record drought, temperatures in the 80’s-90’s instead of the 70’s for this time of year, and winds that are clocking at 60 and 70 mph, with gusts up to 85! Besides authorities declared that the wildfires in California this past July set a record. There were over 1781 fires burning at once, but luckily most were in sparsely populated areas. So much for the “people-cause-the-fires” theory. http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/15/california-wildfires-set-a-record/.
What I find odd is that the same people that deny the fire activity in California is due in part to global warming but instead caused by people, simultaneously deny that people cause global warming. Is this not selective reasoning? Certainly the smoke from these fires contributes heavily to air pollution.
Even an article in Business Week suggested that if we don’t do something soon about global warming the costs of the bad weather produced by it could be devastating for California. It stated that there could be “as much as $3.9 billion in annual damages caused by wildfires, rising sea levels and extreme weather events.” I say ditto for many other parts of the country. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D94EAOUO1.htm.
California isn’t the only area of concern. Hurricane ravaged Galveston, Texas did not get enough press during the presidential campaign. There are still what can be termed “Katrina victims.” I’ve noticed a pronounced change in path and verocity of tropical storms up the east coast of America. We do not want to see anything that resembles a hurricane hit NYC. This past spring our midwest was hit with horrible floods. Tornadoes in the South in November are becoming common. And let’s get real here. Five states in the SW have experienced huge growth, even though 4 of those states collectively rely on one and the same Colorado River for all of their water needs. Add the mentality that wants to maintain a steady growth in population in America, and we have to ask, “Just where is everyone supposed to live that won’t pose some sort of weather and/or uninhabitable terrain problem in the U.S.?” Can’t run, can hide from Mother Nature.