Wildfires_

1. The effects of global warming on temperature, precipitation levels, and soil moisture are turning many of our forests into kindling during wildfire season.

2. As the climate warms, moisture and precipitation levels are changing, with wet areas becoming wetter and dry areas becoming drier.

3. Higher spring and summer temperatures and earlier spring snow melt typically cause soils to be drier for longer, increasing the likelihood of drought and a longer wildfire season.

4. These hot, dry conditions also increase the likelihood that wildfires will be more intense and long-burning once they are started by lightning strikes or human error.

5. The costs of wildfires, in terms of risks to human life and health, property damage, and money, are devastating, and they are only likely to increase unless we better address the risks of wildfires and reduce our activities that lead to further climate change.

6. Across much of the northern hemisphere, intense and prolonged heatwaves have triggered disruption and devastation as North America, the Arctic, northern Europe and Africa have sweltered in record-breaking temperatures.

7. In Africa, a weather station at Ouargla, Algeria, in the Sahara desert, recorded a temperature of 51.3C, the highest reliable temperature ever recorded in Africa.

8. In Japan, where temperatures have reached more than 40C, people were last week urged to take precautions after the death toll reached 30 with thousands more having sought hospital treatment for heat-related conditions. And in California increased use of air conditioning units, switched on to counter the scorching conditions there, has led to power shortages.

9. But perhaps the strangest impact of the intense heat has been felt in Canada. It too has been gripped by ferocious heat, with Toronto recording temperatures that have exceeded 30C on 18 days so far this year. This figure compares with only nine such days all last summer.

10. As global carbon emissions continue to rise and predictions suggest the world will be unable to hold global temperature rises this century to below 2C above pre-industrial levels, widespread heatwaves are very likely to get worse and become more frequent, scientists warn.

View detailed content – Wildfires

Advertisements