covers large portions of the U.S. West following record heat in many
locales. Image source:NASA
the weekend, the heat shifted north and east — thrusting 90+ degree
(F) temperatures into British Columbia where severe wildfires have
been raging throughout the summer. As a result, fire intensity spiked
once again and great plumes of smoke today blanketed hundreds of
miles of western sky.
than 575,000 hectares have
burned in British Columbia so far this year. This is about 6 six
times the average rate of wildfire burning for a typically wet and
cool region. An intensification of the fire regime that came on as
temperatures warmed, climates changed, and indigenous plants found
themselves thrust into conditions outside those they’re adapted to.
extreme heat was brought on by the kind of combined Pacific Ocean
warming and upper
level high pressure ridge amplification
that some researchers have linked to human-caused climate change. And
the overall impacts of the system have been as outlandish as they are
drought’s center mass is near the Missouri River Basin — a
primary water shed for the northern plains states. Since April, these
key regions have seen as little as one quarter the usual
result has been the
emergence of a very intense flash drought.
One of a type that has become more common as atmospheric temperatures
have increased and as evaporation from waters and soils has
intensified. At Lodgepole Montana, the heat and drought were enough
to ignite a 422 square mile wildfire. Covering an area 1/3 the size
of Rhode Island, the fire is Montana’s largest blaze since 1910.
The fire is now, thankfully, 98
More worrisome, the massive blaze is now accompanied by 9
smaller sister fires throughout the state.
And all before the peak of fire season.
drought — a new phenomenon brought on by human-forced climate
change — emerges in Montana. Image source: The
US Drought Monitor and Grist.)
regardless of Trump’s views on climate change or his related lack
of preparedness, the damages and risks just continue mounting.
Montana resident Sarah Swanson recently noted in Grist:
damage and the destruction is just unimaginable. It’s unlike
anything we’ve seen in decades.”
with atmospheric carbon levels in the range of 407 ppm CO2 and 492
ppm CO2e, and with fossil fuel burning still continuing, these kinds
of devastating droughts, heatwaves, and fires will just keep on