Wet winters are no longer a guide to the severity of wildfires in California, a new study suggests. Increased temperatures due to global warming and more effective efforts to contain fires mean there’s now more dry wood to burn. This means that large wildfires of the kind seen in 2018 can now happen in any year, regardless of how wet the previous winter was. The researchers say huge blazes may be a sign of things to come. Their study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Last year was California’s most destructive and deadly wildfire season on record.
BBC 4th March 2019 read more »
The number of heatwaves affecting the planet’s oceans has increased sharply, scientists have revealed, killing swathes of sea-life like “wildfires that take out huge areas of forest”. The damage caused in these hotspots is also harmful for humanity, which relies on the oceans for oxygen, food, storm protection and the removal of climate-warming carbon dioxide the atmosphere, they say. Global warming is gradually increasing the average temperature of the oceans, but the new research is the first systematic global analysis of ocean heatwaves, when temperatures reach extremes for five days or more. The research found heatwaves are becoming more frequent, prolonged and severe, with the number of heatwave days tripling in the last couple of years studied. In the longer term, the number of heatwave days jumped by more than 50% in the 30 years to 2016, compared with the period of 1925 to 1954.
Guardian 4th March 2019 read more »