Climate Change & Wild Fires: Are They Connected?

By: | November 20th, 2014

California Wild Fires

California Wild Fires (Image Courtesy www.nzz.ch)

According to the following video by John Holdren, US Science Advisor to President Obama, climate change is making wildfire seasons in the US longer and more intense.

And as the fires increase, pollution in the form of methane, carbon dioxide, tiny bits of soot and motes from brown carbon are released into the atmosphere, adding to the current annual average of about 39 billion tons per year of anthropogenic emissions. Wildfires affect forests, vegetation, grassland, rush, peet, hills, mountains and agricultural land.

According to Stanford University professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mark Z. Jacobson anthropogenic greenhouse gases include CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, as well as warming caused by black and brown carbon. Heat trapped in the atmosphere, including heat generated by burning biomass, as in forest fires, causes cloud evaporation and decreases the relative humidity, thereby encouraging more fires.

Finally, particulate matter described above adds to cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, lung cancer, asthma and low birth weights. If climate change continues to warm the planet a runaway effect or negative cycle could occur.

50,000 to 100,000 Americans Die Each Year From Air Pollution

In the following video, David Letterman interviews Mark Jacobson of Standford.

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David Russell Schilling

David enjoys research and writing about cutting edge technologies that hold the promise of improving conditions for all life on planet earth.

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