Thomson Reuters Foundation, trust.org (TRF)
“What we’re seeing is a window into what global warming really looks like,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a geoscientist at Princeton University. “It looks like heat. It looks like fires. It looks like this type of environmental disaster,” reports Alertnet. It is the elderly, the very young and the ill people that are the most vulnerable to the high temperatures that are accompanied by the wildfire.
Since last week large parts of the western United States are in blaze from wildfires. Scientists say that fires are caused by unusually high temperatures, low levels of rain, the lack of cold nights this winter and early snow melt that left the forests dry and flammable. Mountain pine bettle larvae further worsened the situation, as they survived in much greater number during the mild winter, and their damage left a greater number of trees dry and dead.
Climate Communication, a nonprofit science outreach group who has just published a report entitled Heat Waves and Climate Change, stated that although 'they could not directly link this week’s events to global warming, there was agreement that they fit into a pattern of extreme weather events and catastrophic fires that climate scientists predict will only worsen in the decades to come.'