NOAA: Large Wildfires Six Times More Likely By 2050

NOAA: Large Wildfires Six Times More Likely By 2050

Nature

NOAA: Large Wildfires Six Times More Likely By 2050

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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, increasing greenhouse gases and rising temperatures are causing an increased likelihood of larger than normal wildfires across the United States and especially among the western states.

“Climate change is expected to both intensify fire-friendly weather conditions, as well as lengthen the season during which very large fires tend to spread.”– NOAA

The frequency of such “large fires” in the West will likely increase by up to 6 times the current amount by mid-century (2041-2070). The largest areas affected by the change in climate seem to be north-eastern Montana and the Great Lakes coastlines, which according to the map below will experience 6 X (dark red) as many week-long fire events than anywhere else in the country.

FutureVeryLargeFires_620

Photo Credit: NOAA

However, the fires and their locations will become more and more inconsistent with the warming climate. Some areas should actually see a decrease by mid-century but on the whole the risk for large fire events is rising. One of the main concerns of this upsetting trend is the perceived effects such seasons will have on ecosystems around the world.

“At this very moment, more than 70 wildfires are burning throughout the West, putting homes, lives, and livelihoods at risk. The smoke created by these fires exacerbates chronic heart and lung diseases while also degrading visibility and altering snowmelt, precipitation patterns, water quality, and soil properties. In addition to public health impacts, projected trends in extreme fire events have important implications for terrestrial carbon emissions and ecosystems.”– NOAA

Not only are livelihoods, ecosystems, and individual species at risk from the threat but there is a humongous amount of money at stake as well. Currently, the United States spends over $1 billion a year on wildfires and it’s fair to assume that number will be multiplied in the coming years. Maybe even by sixfold.

You can read the entire NOAA article here: Risk of very large fires could increase sixfold by mid-century in the US

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