ClimateWire reports: As deadly wildfires rage across California’s wine country, leaving at least 29 dead and a trail of destruction in their wake, the influence of climate change is again being questioned.
Just Monday, Hillary Clinton delivered a speech at the University of California, Davis, in which she noted that “it’s been a tough couple of weeks with hurricanes and earthquakes and now these terrible fires” (Climatewire, Oct. 12).
“So in addition to expressing our sympathy, we need to really come together to try to work to prevent and mitigate, and that starts with acknowledging climate change and the role that it plays in exacerbating such events,” she added.
While there’s growing interest in investigating the fingerprints of climate change on extreme weather events, it’s often challenging for scientists to parse out its influence versus other natural and human factors—and, as experts have warned time and again, no single weather event can be attributed solely to the effects of climate change. This may be particularly true for wildfires, which are heavily influenced by human land-use and management practices in addition to the weather.
Still, scientists are increasingly suggesting that climate change has already had a hand in shaping fire seasons, not just in California but elsewhere around the world, and will likely continue to play a major role. These are a few of the major climate-related factors that may be at play. [Continue reading…]