Yosemite National Park to Have 20% More Wildfires by 2050 - And They'll Be Stronger, Too

yosemite national park with snow photo

photo: azdiaz1002 via flickr.

We've covered how global warming is going to change California on a number of occasions in a broad context, but here's something a bit more granular: BBC News is highlighting how decreased snowpack and increased lightning strikes are going to cause wildfire flare ups in Yosemite National Park:According to research published in the International Journal of Wildland Fire, Yosemite is likely to see about a 20% increase in both the number of fires and the area of land which burns at high intensity, from 2020-2049.

Yosemite Flammability Connected With Amount of Snowpack
This is how snowpack and lightening strikes interplay: First, with increasing CO2 in the atmosphere there is evidence that lightning strikes increase. Second, since the overall flammability of the landscape is largely determined by how much it snows in the winter and conservative estimates indicate a 17% decline in snowfall by 2050, those lightening strikes are likely to set off more fires.

We know that in low-snow years from 1984-2005, lightning-induced fires increased radically, but as report co-author Dr James Lutz says, at current emission trajectories the future snowpack in Yosemite is likely to be so low that making accurate predictions about the amount of fires is difficult.

via: BBC News
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