Quote of the Day: Ronald Neilson on the Southern California Fires


Photo credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
This is exactly what we’ve been projecting to happen, both in short-term fire forecasts for this year and the longer term patterns that can be linked to global climate change. ...

You can’t look at one event such as this and say with certainty that it was caused by a changing climate. But things just like this are consistent with what the latest modeling shows, and may be another piece of evidence that climate change is a reality, one with serious effects.As the planet warms, more water is getting evaporated from the oceans and all that water has to come down somewhere as precipitation. That can lead, at times, to heavier vegetation loads popping up and creation of a tremendous fuel load. But the warmth and other climatic forces are also going to create periodic droughts. If you get an ignition source during these periods, the fires can just become explosive. In the future, catastrophic fires such as those going on now in California may simply be a normal part of the landscape."

—Ronald Neilson, a professor at Oregon State University, bioclimatologist with the USDA Forest Service, and contributor to publications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in an OSU press release

[Via ::The Blue Marble Blog]

See also: ::L.A. Demands Fire-Fighting Goats

Tags: California | Oregon | Quotes | United States