I have been talking about the wildfires in TX in my discussions here. There is a new fire just about everyday here in TX.
Another fire has erupted in Bastrop County!
"Wildfire frequency and danger are closely tied to weather. Although one might
assume that the greatest wildfire danger is associated with the most severe droughts,
wildfires are most dangerous when a few months of very wet weather produce heavy
vegetation growth and are followed by a few months of very dry weather that cause the fuel to dry out. When the fuel is in place, dangerous wildfires are most likely to occur on days with very strong wind and low humidity. Dust storms are favored under similar weather conditions but with longer-term dryness."
Wildfire Update – October 5, 2011
OLD POTATO ROAD, Bastrop County. 1,000 acres, 25 percent contained. 50 homes threatened and evacuations are in occurring with structure protection in progress. Multiple dozer task forces, heavy airtankers, helicopters, SEATs and an air attack are heavily engaged in suppression efforts. This fire is burning in heavy fuels approximately 7 miles northeast of Bastrop.
How is global warming affecting where you live?
There's something wrong with this site. Half of the links just say "the connection was reset." I find the method of data presentation confusing. I'm not sure what they mean by, "The temperature trend for the period of record (1895 to present) is 0.0 degrees Fahrenheit per decade." Are they claiming that the decade average temperature for Texas hasn't budged a tenth of a degree since 1895? I tried a couple of the options, but found it hard to see any big picture from data presented that way. Instead of trying to wade through raw data and poorly presented tables, I find it more comprehensible to start with an overview such as Climate Communication: Science & Outreach
For example, this chart gives a gut feeling for why just being 6.1 degrees F warmer than average and getting -1.58 inches less rain is associated with the largest wildfire in Texas history.
I think the term "global warming" is misleading. According to climate scientists the more correct term would be "global climate change". The arctic and antarctic regions are warming rapidly as measured by permafrost, glacial and sea ice melting. However, weather in the temperate and tropical regions has become more variable. I don't disagree that climate variation and change has occurred naturally throughout earth's long history; however, according to most credible scientific sources there is overwhelming evidence that human activity is causing or at least vastly accelerating current changes.
Here in the pacific northwest, last winter was colder and wetter than usual, and our summer has been cold and wet. This is attributed to a La Nina weather pattern, as has the drought in the South (and drought throughout much of the tropics - Vanuatu is receiving emergency drought relief in the form of desalinators because the islands are out of drinking water. These people have an oral history going back thousands of years. They have never seen this before, and they have never seen the sea level rises they are now experiencing). La Nina and El Nino weather patterns used to have a longer cycle - they occurred less frequently. I recently read (and I'll try and find the article so I can source it for you) that these patterns are occuring more frequently and lasting longer and this may be due to global climate change.
I'm definitely going to read that book! Texas is such a huge and varied state; there have always been droughts and hurricanes and fires and freak snowstorms there - but something more is definitely going on these days. The bad stuff seems to be happening more frequently.
Some people seem to think that warming would not be such a bad thing...no more snow and freezing weather in the winter! Why wouldn't it be great to grow pineapples in Canada? What they don't realize is that most of our food staples such as wheat and corn are grown in areas currently being devastated by drought or by floods and other disasters. If America's breadbasket becomes a desert, we're all screwed. Why should the Canadians welcome hundreds of millions of sunburned, parched Americans? And who is to say they wouldn't have their own food supply problems? Not to mention that these problems would be global, not just American.
You can have too much rain, too. A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, and even here in the rain capital of the country, we can still get too much. Gardens drown, native plants suffer, trees don't fruit and disease and pests proliferate. In our warmer ocean, fish and other marine life are suffering. We have had serious problems with toxic algae blooms (red tides) here in the last two years. Fish and shellfish become dangerous to eat. It's bad all the way up the food chain.
Here is a link to Ruth's discussion on climate change.
...wildfires are most dangerous when a few months of very wet weather produce heavy
vegetation growth and are followed by a few months of very dry weather that cause the fuel to dry out.
This is why greater variability such as heavier rain, from warm air holding more moisture, contributes to climate destabilization. The process isn't linear. First you drench a county, then you dry it out. Whamo!