Study says global warming to blame for huge wildfires
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) - A study carried out in a central
Idaho pine forest suggests global warming - not overly thick
forests - is the leading cause of huge wildfires that have been
burning in the West every season for nearly 20 years.
The findings are published in the latest issue of the journal
The study analyzed 8,000 years of sediment accumulated in the
valley of the South Fork Payette River near Lowman, where records
of massive, prehistoric wildfires are buried in the sediment.
After the fires, rain and snowmelt flowed over a floor sealed by
the heat and ash, creating a cement-like slurry of charcoal,
boulders and bits of trees. The most severe fires caused the
thickest bands of sediment.
Most fire history is based on studying tree rings and typically
extends back no further than 500 years, the age of the oldest
ponderosa pines, said Grant A. Meyer, co-author of the study and
associate professor of earth and planetary sciences at the
University of New Mexico.
The period from about 1350 to the beginning of the 20th century
was known as the Little Ice Age. Rocky Mountain glaciers grew
larger during this period. And the wet, cool conditions allowed
grasses to flourish on forest floors, which provided tinder for
frequent but cool ground fires.
Foresters see this time as a period when cool fires and old
trees seemed to be in harmony, Meyer said. However, the time before
the Little Ice Age probably provides a more accurate glimpse of the
interplay between forests and fire.
Before the Little Ice Age was a 400-year period of hot, dry
weather with multiple, decades-long droughts, Meyer said. Several
massive wildfires burned the forest to the ground above the Payette
"The fires must have been quite severe," Meyer said.
It appears that temperatures today are even higher than they
were during the medieval period, the scientists wrote.
Most scientists believe the current warming trend is the result
of a buildup of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, caused by
the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels.
Fire had always been allowed to rid the forest floor of excess
fuel, yet this did not protect the forest from large-scale
destruction by fire during the warming trends, said Jennifer
Pierce, a University of New Mexico graduate student and lead author
of the study.
This may mean that forests cannot be protected by thinning
projects, because historical evidence shows that fires will only be
hotter and larger on a planet that continues to heat up, Pierce
"Management policy needs to incorporate climate change, instead
of trying to get back to these Little Ice Age conditions where
fires were small," Pierce said. "That's just not realistic.
Maintenance of those conditions will be difficult in the face of
Retired U.S. Forest Service fire ecologist Stephen Arno said
climate should not be ignored, but forest thinning remains the best
defense against catastrophic wildfire.
Recent years have provided "innumerable examples" where
thinned forests have slowed the rapid spread of forest crown fires,
said Arno, author of the 1999 book "Flames in Our Forest."
"Fuels management can work to mitigate the severity of fires.
Even with climate change, you're still going to need to control
fuel buildup," he said.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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Thread: New Study - Global Warming
11-09-2004, 08:07 AM #1
New Study - Global WarmingProudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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11-12-2004, 10:59 AM #2
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So scientific examination of soil samples SUGGEST that local or global heating/cooling cycles have been a regular occurance - a theory. Reason for change, if it actually has occured was for some unknown reason. Interject theory on why such cycles have occured. Interesting science. Might well be correct as a locical case that things change over time. Can theorize for years if correct and WHY might have occured.
Now shift gears to political agenda and determine that the current, THEORETICAL, cooling cycle, for the 1st time, in history is caused by the actions of man. HUHHHH?
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