Experts have an opinion that climate change has a hand to play in California’s wild forest fires. Across the century gone by, average temperatures across California are higher by 3 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a marked difference from an increase of 1 degree Fahrenheit, as observed across the world.
Hotter air tends to draw out more water from plants, making them more vulnerable to catching fire. There is an exponential increase in the effect, even with a minute change with the degree of warming.
In California, the vegetation is characteristically dry by autumn. Warm air makes it dryer still, as the research across past few decades exemplifies. As a resultant, the geographical scope of wild forest fires is eight times higher as compared to what it used to be in the 1970s.
Wild forest fires in California characteristically occur in the fall, wherein the summers reduce the water content in the trees. The winter rains dampen the fires, but as of the recent past, fires span longer by around 75 days and initiate in spring.
Mountain peaks in California nowadays accumulate lesser snow. Warmer weather melts away more snow before the onset of winters. So the spring season arrives sooner. This makes forests more vulnerable to fires, and they initiate earlier in the season.
As dry season spans further into autumn, it extends the fires further. There is a delay in winter rainfall in California up to November or December, as has been the case in the past few years. This further extends the duration and scope of the forest fires.
Prospects for the future for the remainder of the 21st century do not paint a bright picture, in terms of effects of climate change over coastal California. They are likely to be more devastating as compared to what was earlier anticipated. This has been revealed by a recent study by U.S. Geological survey.
Rising sea levels would make coastal California more vulnerable to beach or cliff erosion, storms, and tides. The effects are likely to show up in the form of devastating flooding, which renders its impact in the form of damage to property and humanitarian crisis.
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