A Breath of the Future

From New Scientist, on the Rim Fire disaster near Yosemite [now the 7th largest in state history and not far from 6th.]

Wildfires have always been a part of life in the US west, but they are on the rise as climate change takes hold. In California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, the main problem is the earlier onset of spring. “The snow melts earlier, especially at lower elevations,” says Michael Wehner of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a lead author for the US National Climate Assessment. That gives forests longer to dry out, producing tinderbox conditions by late August.

By threatening San Francisco’s power and water, the Rim Fire serves a warning that wildfires can have effects far beyond the area they burn. These will include a surge in air pollution as wildfire activity increases, a new study suggests.

Xu Yue of Yale University has calculated that by the middle of the century, as wildfire activity grows with climate change, total summertime soot pollution will rise by up to 27 per cent in the western US, while aerosols of organic compounds will increase by as much as 70 per cent (Atmospheric Environment, doi.org/nkq).

Both are important contributors to PM2.5, a class of microscopic particles that trigger cardiovascular and respiratory problems…

 If only we could export these particles to those states whose citizens elect officials who think God couldn’t possibly be doing this to his people….

 

 

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