The effects of climate change have drastically increased across the world today. It is necessary to know that there is a link between wildfires and climate change which is more prominent today. However, it is necessary to know that there are two recent research that has been issued in the Geographical Research Letters this month and these research have given lots of insights on the ways in which climate change are increasing the risks of wildfires around the world today.
In California, which is a town with wildfires risks, urbanization and global warming are increasing ground temperatures at the Southern coast, thus, increasing the levels of wildfires. Wildfires cause a lot of havoc and environmental pollution.
Furthermore, along the Mediterranean region and the temperate areas of the Southern Hemisphere, wildfires are caused as a result of lightning in the clouds and this tends to increase as climate change increases. When lightning is ignited in these areas, it tends to cause wildfires.
It is necessary to know that the research works on the risks of wildfire as a result of climate change was done in California and published on May 24 and reported by the Columbia University in Phys.org Wednesday.
“Cloud cover is plummeting in southern coastal California and as clouds decrease, it increases the chance of bigger and more intense fires.” These were the words of Williams, the research co-author and Columbia University bio-climatologist Park.
According to these researchers, there has been a decrease in cloud cover by 25 to 50% since in the 1970’s and this has been as a result of climate change and urbanization which tend to increase the temperature levels of the ground. High levels of ground temperature tend to drive clouds away and thus, leading the direct sunlight to hit the ground. Increase in ground temperature tends to disrupt vegetation and raise the chances of vegetation to be set ablaze.
Furthermore, these research works made it known that the areas affected by wildfires in southern California have not increased as a result of Urbanization which has reduced the number of lands prone to wildfires. Also, these areas that have been affected by wildfire in southern California have not increased due to the fact that adequate measures like firefighting techniques have been put into place.
“Even though the danger has increased, people in these areas are very good at putting out fires, so the area burned hasn’t gone up,” Williams made this known again. “But the dice are now loaded, and in areas where clouds have decreased, the fires should be getting more intense and harder to contain. At some point, we will see if people can continue to keep up.”
In addition, Williams stated that the wildfire incident that occurred in 2017 was caused by wind, a dry fall, and surplus wildfire prone vegetation that surfaced in the rainy seasons after California’s intense drought and not as a result of decreased cloud cover.
It is also important to note that the lightning research was issued on May 15 and conveyed by Portland State University on Thursday in Phys.org.
The research emphasized on the link between the occurrences of lightning-started fires that cause the heating-up of the temperatures of the ground leading to wildfires and the effects of three climate change trends which are, El Nino-La Nina, the Indian Ocean Dipole, and the Southern Annular Mode.
The research work also discovered that global warming raised the occurrence of fires and the impact of all the three climate trends on fires in the warmer part of the 21st century when likened with the end of the 20th century.
“We think that by having warmer oceans and warmer temperatures in general, we are going to see higher evaporation and heat transfer, and thus higher frequency of convective storms and in turn results in more lightning-ignited fires,” said Andres Holz, the research co-author, and Portland State University geography professor.
Nevertheless, wildfires in particular, are increased due to the activities of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), north-south movement of west winds that circulate Antarctica and convey moisture to the southwest tip of continents in the Southern Hemisphere. It is important also to note that all these events occur as a result of the “positive phase” of the Southern Annular Mode when the west winds move away to Antarctica and global warming and the deep hole in the ozone layer have pooled with the climate driver to raise the level of heat and reduce the precipitation levels in Australia, South Africa, and southern South America.
With all these facts, the need to curb the menace of wildfire by limiting the levels of climate change is highly important and Holz has made it known that, globally, unless rainfall patterns change, global warming will tend to increase the wildfires in wet regions and regions that are probably too humid for fires, but this phenomenon tends to decrease in dry regions or areas.