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midtskogen
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23 Jun 2020 15:40

Forest fires in Siberia is an annual thing, and I don't think there is much support for attributing them to climate change.

I have a memory from my first flight over Siberia, between Helsinki and Tokyo in 1999, of forest fires. For hours and hours plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the land as we flew over Siberia.  I don't know if the summer of 1999 was a particular bad fire season, but it was a pretty spectacular sight.
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23 Jun 2020 16:39

midtskogen wrote:
Forest fires in Siberia is an annual thing, and I don't think there is much support for attributing them to climate change.

I have a memory from my first flight over Siberia, between Helsinki and Tokyo in 1999, of forest fires. For hours and hours plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the land as we flew over Siberia.  I don't know if the summer of 1999 was a particular bad fire season, but it was a pretty spectacular sight.

well according to the reports, the climate has warmed so much there that Russia is looking forward to doing farming there.... it has been 20 F above normal for the last six months or so, which is amazing.
You are talking about the 11 year pattern of extreme heat which is due to the solar cycle, we have that here also, the summers of 1933, 1944, 1955, 1966, 1977, 1988, 1999, 2010 were particularly hot for their decades (and seem to be getting hotter.)  There was a little variability among them, mostly due to the ENSO state.  Based on that, summer 2021 should be particularly hot also.

have a read of this thread please

https://twitter.com/RARohde/status/1271528269263798277

Five months into 2020, and there has been a huge, record-breaking warm anomaly over Asia (up to +8°C).

If 2020 goes on to be the warmest recorded year, despite the lack of an El Niño event, then this year's monstrous Asian anomaly will be the reason why.

https://t.co/vjpQnxMaHJ?amp=1

The national average for Russia has been +5.3 °C above normal during the first five months of 2020.

That breaks the previous record by a massive 1.9 °C.

That's the largest January to May anomaly ever observed in any national average.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/18/climate/climate-change-pregnancy-study.html?smid=tw-share

Climate Change Tied to Pregnancy Risks, Affecting Black Mothers Most
Women exposed to high temperatures or air pollution are more likely to have premature, underweight or stillborn babies, a look at 32 million U.S. births found.

WASHINGTON — Pregnant women exposed to high temperatures or air pollution are more likely to have children who are premature, underweight or stillborn, and African-American mothers and babies are harmed at a much higher rate than the population at large, according to sweeping new research examining more than 32 million births in the United States.

The research adds to a growing body of evidence that minorities bear a disproportionate share of the danger from pollution and global warming. Not only are minority communities in the United States far more likely to be hotter than the surrounding areas, a phenomenon known as the “heat island” effect, but they are also more likely to be located near polluting industries.
 
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05 Aug 2020 11:14

Got hit with our second tropical cyclone of the season already and we aren't even halfway through the season yet!  First we had TS Fay which was unusual for getting organized so far north and so close to the coast (record high SST here- 81!), in early July (it was a 60 mph storm).  Now we just had a bout with Isaias....made landfall as a 85 mph hurricane in NC but was still a very strong 70 mph TS when it made it up here, despite being over land for almost 16 hours!  We had wind gusts up to 80 mph with a dozen and a half tornadoes, one of which was an EF2 125 mph twister and there were 4 million power outages, giving this storm the most power outages here besides Sandy in 2012.  There was a 5 ft record storm surge down in SC and NC and up to a foot of rain west of the track in MD and PA (my summer location had its third wettest day on record, at almost 5 inches of rain, behind only Floyd 1999 and Irene 2011.)  The prediction is for a dozen more hurricanes this year, so we may well get hit again.......

edit:  The first 130 temp recorded in modern history and in the shade was recorded yesterday at Death Valley!  If verified it will be the first 130 verified temp ever recorded, as the previous ones were of dubious veracity!  At the same time a very rare severe thunderstorm with flooding rains was going on in San Francisco and massive forest fires over SoCal with widespread power outages both from the heat and from the severe weather!  There was even a rare firenado......
 
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Watsisname
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04 Sep 2020 17:36

A layer of smoke blew in from the wildfires in California today, upon which the clouds cast very dramatic shadows:

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04 Sep 2020 22:35

I heard these fires have caused lots of air pollution near San Francisco and LA might hit 105 over the weekend!  Denver may hit 100 and then there might be significant snow there next week!  What a change!
 
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10 Sep 2020 03:40

An apt combination: Blade Runner 2049 music put to drone footage of wildfire smoke over San Francsico taken yesterday.  We're no stranger to wildfire smoke here in the Pacific states, but I must say, this year's fire and smoke event is something else. Just wow.

"Just another glamorous day from hell in 2020!" -- local resident.  :D


And in Oregon:


A nice explanation of the light scattering physics by Scott Manley:
 
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11 Sep 2020 01:15

Wat are you guys okay?  Really sad to hear about how bad and historic this wildfire season has gotten.  It was predictable based on AGW but to actually see it and how it's spread across Oregon and Washington too.  It's a global problem, look at what happened in Australia last summer too.  Even for those who aren't in the direct path of the fires, did you know that air pollution lowers life expectancy even more than tobacco smoking does?  Ironic considering how corrupt both the fossil fuel cartels and tobacco cartels are and how they tried to cover up scientific research and paid "experts" to do so.  NY and NJ have joined a 19 state lawsuit to seek funds from the fossil fuel cartel to combat the effects of climate change induced sea level rise and forest fires, hopefully they will be as successful as they were against the opioid industry.  The social justice movement has also brought more awareness to the fact that pollution from fossil fuels affects everyone, but minorities the most.
 
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11 Sep 2020 01:46

Yes, we're fine. It's definitely the most significant wildfire and smoke event in living memory, but we're fairly used to this sort of thing. The smoke can be a nuisance when it is near ground level, otherwise it just makes things look eerie. Where I live we're not at any significant risk from fires themselves, which are 100s of kilometers away. It's still dry season though, and every year around this time one has to be careful and it is typical to have burn bans in effect.

In Washington, fires that happen anywhere near urban areas are usually quick to put under control. Most of the wildfires that get very big and produce the most smoke are either grass fires in eastern Washington that spread and burn out very quickly, or they are up in the mountains triggered by lightning, which are much harder to put out because of the remoteness and difficulty of the terrain, but at the same time pose little risk to people.

Connection to climate change is tricky. Climate change of course affects drought frequency and severity, but fire activity also depends on natural triggers (especially lightning), and it's not quite so clear how climate change affects lightning frequency, or the wind patterns.

We're expecting a pulse of dense smoke near ground level to blow in over the next few hours, so tomorrow may be a good day to limit outdoor activity. 

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11 Sep 2020 02:32

How about the temperatures?  I was reading that there has been record heat in California this year.  There is also some human activity going on like more people living near the forest-urban interface as well as more people venturing into the forest and doing bad things (one of the fires was triggered by a gender reveal party?!)  Have you seen how entire towns have been wiped out in Oregon?  :-(  The climate sets the table, but humans definitely make it worse with their activities.  I believe activities of this kind were also linked to the record Australian fires.  The fires seem to be getting worse every year, and I've read that they now happen year round rather then there being a confined season?  Also, a new term I see being used more is "complex" which refers to the fact that the fires are now combining to create a "super fire"?  That's pretty alarming!  Maybe there will be restrictions placed on where people can live and go to lower the frequency of these fires in the future, while we transition to renewable energy.  I'm not sure this kind of thing is sustainable year after year without severe consequences to society as a whole (air pollution is actually more toxic than tobacco.)

One of the new developments I heard about this week is that Amazon and Uber are going all electric by 2030.
 
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11 Sep 2020 03:36

This year's fire season was bad because of a combination of temperature and low relative humidity to prime the fuel, and extreme lightning activity to actually trigger many fires. (How unusual was this particular lightning event? Very.) Finally, there were unusually high winds to spread them. All of these factors are important, and it is not obvious that climate change is pushing all of them in a direction that makes fire conditions worse every year. There are some trends, but it's also very stochastic, and this year looks more like a statistical outlier caused by a perfect roll of several dice.

Aside: you know that I accept climate change and humanity's influence over it -- I've spent much time discussing it and effects that are very well attributed to it. :)

What about the human component? Most area burned by wildfire each year is related to lightning, and this year is no exception:

Image

So some may propose preventing people from living or visiting fire-prone wilderness, but that would be very unpopular, difficult to enforce, and would not significantly reduce the severity of wildfires, anyway. Precisely because those caused by people tend to be easier for firefighters to reach, and we don't always want to put out fires that happen in remote areas. Remember, fires are a natural part of the environment out here. They have happened since before humans were around, and life is in many ways adapted and even dependent on it. So rather than taking such draconian measures that wouldn't do much good, it is better to focus on educating people to be responsible with fire. That fire caused by the gender reveal party was a disgrace! People should know better than to use fireworks under such conditions, and if they do wrong like that, then they should be held accountable.
 
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11 Sep 2020 04:23

Yes it would be pretty unpopular to take such draconian measures but I feel we have to do something to limit all this destruction and death.  It's truly tragic.    I accept the idea of some level of climate influence (we dont know how much) plus the behavior of people in wanting to live near forested areas as well as the number of visitors to these areas.  So I guess my question would be, what would be the fastest and easiest ways to reduce the damage of these fires and get to some sort of pre-2010 numbers?  I dont want to eliminate fires entirely either just get them back to the numbers they used to be over a decade ago.  I see you heard about the gender reveal party too!  It reminds me of how people abused fireworks on the 4th of July!  Do you remember that guy I told you about who accidentally threw fireworks on the ground and they went off near my car as I was driving by?  Truly scary!
 
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11 Sep 2020 04:45

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post So I guess my question would be, what would be the fastest and easiest ways to reduce the damage of these fires and get to some sort of pre-2010 numbers?

The fastest and easiest? Probably to raze the forests and grasslands to the dirt. :)

More seriously, if we resolve our dependence on fossil fuels and move to clean energy sooner, then we solve the climate change problem sooner, and that in turn may help reduce the severity of wildfire. But it's not a guarantee, either, since there are so many other factors like what lightning activity does, how we manage the land itself. So if limiting wildfire was the ultimate goal, I would favor better education and enforcement of fire safety, and better management of our lands so that fires continue to be a natural part of it but don't go so wildly out of control and cost lives.

Some fires were even caused by the electric utility, and were preventable if they paid closer attention to weather forecasts, particularly from the higher resolution rapid refresh models that are now more widely available.
 
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midtskogen
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11 Sep 2020 13:04

How are the forests in arid California and Oregon managed?  Any firebreaks cleared?
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11 Sep 2020 13:46

Watsisname wrote:
A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post So I guess my question would be, what would be the fastest and easiest ways to reduce the damage of these fires and get to some sort of pre-2010 numbers?

The fastest and easiest? Probably to raze the forests and grasslands to the dirt. :)

More seriously, if we resolve our dependence on fossil fuels and move to clean energy sooner, then we solve the climate change problem sooner, and that in turn may help reduce the severity of wildfire. But it's not a guarantee, either, since there are so many other factors like what lightning activity does, how we manage the land itself. So if limiting wildfire was the ultimate goal, I would favor better education and enforcement of fire safety, and better management of our lands so that fires continue to be a natural part of it but don't go so wildly out of control and cost lives.

Some fires were even caused by the electric utility, and were preventable if they paid closer attention to weather forecasts, particularly from the higher resolution rapid refresh models that are now more widely available.

Yes indeed, and the utility admitted culpability and were punished for it last year.  I remember that...that was PP and L, I think?
I hesitate to recommend razing the forests because we've seen that when fires get rid of trees we end up having landslides during the wet season.
A Syracuse Univ professor I was watching mentioned the record heat and dryness issues and lightning being the trigger.  Looks like the West had the pre-existing conditions to make this far worse than it was pre 2000 (he mentioned that 17 of the 20 years since 2000 have had historic or near historic fire seasons.)

Seattle, Portland and San Francisco have the worst air pollution in the world right now.
 
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Watsisname
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12 Sep 2020 05:41

My view yesterday:
Image
vs. a normal day:
Image
Pretty smokey, but nothing like some of those apocalyptic scenes from California or Oregon. More coming in today:
Image
midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post How are the forests in arid California and Oregon managed?  Any firebreaks cleared?

Absolutely, in fact programs for putting in breaks and trying to modify forest fire fuels to reduce fire severity go back a long way:

https://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/ ... _ah499.pdf

Unfortunately there is still a lot of remote terrain where not much is done, and large fires can still clear breaks pretty easily. (Grassland fires are easier to manage, since even a small clearing will often stop them.) Some species have also been introduced which are more fire-prone, and the way forests have grown back from poor logging practices is another issue. So it's a bit complex.

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