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« The Breakdown: Fast Freezing Beer | Main | Putting Out Fires Too Quickly Proves Dangerous »

Comments

John

Why is everything blamed on global warming these days? There is still so little we understand about the environment yet global warming has become a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong. The bigger problem is that we have stopped the little fires that pop up here and there which destroy the dead underbrush. When that accumulates and grows too large all it requires is a simple spark and what would have once been a small fire that is completely natural and expected becomes a giant conflagration. And despite what the media would tell you man made global warming is far from certain. I will agree that global warming is occurring but there are two important questions that need answering first. 1) Is it truly the fault of man and is CO2 the real epidemic? 2) Is global warming necessarily a really bad thing? Environmentalists unfortunately want to keep the globe static without realizing it is actually a dynamic existence.

Armen M.

My car needs about 1500.00 worth of work. I saw an article somewhere in Madd Magazine linking car repairs to global warming!!

urban_houstonian

John, you are absolutely correct. It's silly to think that global warming could be a culprit when overdevelopment and poor agricultural maintenance are more likely culprits.

thepi

It's not silly, it is the standard blame-every-bad-natural-event-on-global-warming-caused-by-humans bit every news outlet does all the time.

david

AHHH - it's good to see there are still some morans out there - remember don't mess with mother nature

Marc

Global warming is not necessarily THE reason for the fires in California, but it may be a cause indirectly: California, as well as Georgia, and even the MidWest are in a drought (or a significant change in the weather). New England was in the 70's and 80's in late October....

Another cause for the bigger fires is that there is simply more material to burn: decades of 'extinguish everything' policy from the Forest Service allows debris to build up. Then when fire does come by, it does it much bigger than it normally would. Fires are so intense now that they actually sterilize the top layers of soil. Fires are part of the ecology, and they should be allowed to burn periodically to prevent such buildups.

I do not know what the fire policy is in So. Cal., but I imagine that it is equivalent to what I have posted above.

Some Guy

Please excuse what may seem to be a holier-than-thou comment; I think this needs to be said. If you disagree, sorry.

It's definitely, like the article says, a combination of factors which is doing this.

Sure, we shouldn't blame everything on global warming, but we should also listen to the scientific consensus.
The facts remain: CO2 does increase the greenhouse effect and temperature, and one degree more of heat in the environment means drier materials, plus one degree less of heat needed to keep the fire going.

You seem to be supporting the emmission of CO2. If you want to keep driving your hummers, pretending there's nothing wrong with
- pumping millions of tons of poison into the atmosphere and oceans without regard for its undesired effects
- relying on foreign sources of oil, for which we may or may not be waging war (ok, I admit, I too idealistically believed the 'aluminum tubes are WMDs' bullshit)
- ignoring the destruction of habitats and the murder of species, and rationalizing it by calling it 'dynamic'...
... go ahead. But first, _PLEASE_ consider the possibility that you're hurting the world.

And David, I'm on your side, but it still bothers me when people misspell 'moron'.

zach

I don't think its unreasonable to hypothesize that warming is at least part of the culprit. Now, is that human generated warming? The science is still out on that. But then it makes sense to posit that over development, bad fire control policies (that contribute to undergrowth) and a general seasonal climate that is favorable to starting fires, all had something to do with what is happening in SoCal.

Props to the Guvenator for not letting this become a Katrina.

jerry

Well Marc you seem to be informed. I do have a few questions. CO2 is a poison? I thought we needed that stuff. Temperature follows an increase concentration of CO2? I have read in several scientific publications that CO2 follows temperature. Should we listen to a 'scientific consensus"? I had rather listen to a "scientic debate" and make up my own mind. Foreign oil causes wild fires? Interesting! Define global warming? Is it the average high, average low. Who takes the temperature of the globe? According to our records the hottest year in the US was 1935. Go figure. As to the dynamics of the planet, that is a fact of our existence. We would "murder" fewer people if we built more nuclear plants and used less fossil fuels. That is the truth. Oh by the way I drive a hybred.

Samuel Foxwell

Mmm, the science is very clear- stupid fire policies cause worse fires, and global warming caused by humans does not help matters. What kills me is that I was taught these both things in highschool way back in 1989.

Sean

Zach, too much oxygen is also a poison. Go figure.

Bill

I eat bacon, drive big cars, and don't recycle.

Some Guy

Yeah, and too much water is a poison too :p. *looks sheepish for using that argument*.
Anyway, Samuel Foxwell sums it up.
It's interesting to see, though, how the media tries to make this sound like a 'balanced account' by mentioning multiple factors, including global warming, and the arguments that this sets off. I guess what triggered me was the 'is it necessarily a bad thing?' comment by John. It sounds too much to me like what someone might say just before or after jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. And pulling a few other people and cute animals with him.
I then launched into my normal 'hummers are the devil' argument.

Peter M.

Yes, these fires are a combination of factors. And yes, an important factor is that small fires rid the forests of tinder that amplify the magnitue of forest fires.
But the naysayers of global warning are missing a critical point. If they're wrong, the planet is doomed. If they're right, the population of the planet has gained a heightened awareness of the health of our home, Earth. And what's wrong with that?
We've literally got everything to lose by getting it wrong and so much to gain by getting it right. Let's not soil our nest, please people, get it right.

Lauren

I'd like to read Thomas Swetnam's study and see if he considered increased population as a factor. More people means more houses encroaching on dry forests and grasslands. Certainly drought increases fire danger and the West has suffered several droughts in recent decades. However global warming doesn't correlate to more droughts.

To conclusively attribute larger and more devastating fires to global warming you would need to consider data from all over the globe, not just regional data from the western United States. It does not necessarily follow that global warming means more and bigger fires. Increased CO2 means more plants, which presumably means more cooling ground cover and cloud formation, though plants make great fuel when they dry out.

By the way, the computer models are not very good at predicting effects of global warming. They're still trying to figure out how to get all the inputs and feedback loops right to match what's really going on. Maybe someday they'll be more useful for predictions, but not right now.

Lauren

Sorry, second post. It must be remembered that 60 to 100 mph winds during wildfires would be absolutely devastating, as we've just witnessed, regardless of population encroachment on wild areas. Like recent hurricanes in the U.S. have shown, growing populations living in natural-disaster-prone areas means greater and more expensive damage. We will never tame Mother Nature, but we can learn lessons on how to minimize the disasters in the future, barring freakish Santa Ana winds of course.

Jacob

I was going to stay out but I did want to respond to Lauren's comment: "Increased CO2 means more plants."

That statement is untrue. Higher CO2 levles might increase plant growth rates but only if other conditions (air temperature, soil nutrients, and most importantly soil hydration) are all favorable. As temperatures (and CO2 levels) increase soil hydration is more likely to decrease causing plat growth to slow.

Water is the largest single determining factor regarding plant growth, CO2 is hardly a blip, and its current levels could be cut by half without affecting plant growth even a little.

Ajf 6

Friendship is pure and holy, like love, it is a kind of "I'm able to you, there are you in me" mutual emotional.

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