The Rim Fire and climate change

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The monstrous blaze that swept through Yosemite and burned 237,841 acres was a record breaker. According to the latest statistics from Cal Fire, the Rim Fire was the fourth highest in the history of California, with a $77 million price tag. Thanks to the efforts of more than 4,000 firefighters and support personnel, the blaze was 80 percent contained as of the latest update on Sept. 4.

While the exact cause remains a mystery for now, it’s worth pointing out that the Rim Fire could not have reached such epic proportions if it hadn’t been for the dry conditions in place when the smoldering began. And as climate change continues to alter weather patterns across the Western United States, projected declines in precipitation and higher average temperatures will lead to more of the same conditions that give rise to hot destructive infernos.

Daniel Berlant, an information officer with Cal Fire, noted in a recent telephone interview that summers have been longer and hotter over the past decade, a trend that has coincided with a spike in wildfires.

According to Cal Fire statistics, there were 5,135 fires in California from January 1 through August 31 of this year. Over the same time span last year, there were 3,731 fires recorded. The five-year average is even lower, at 3,638.

Another troubling statistic: Seven out of the 10 largest wildfires in California history occurred in the last decade alone.

“What we’ve been seeing here in this past decade is longer summers – seven to eight days longer than normal,” Berlant explained. “There’s a correlation between a longer summer and more wildfires,” he continued, and when rainfall finally does arrive, it comes in at record lows, Berlant explained. Meanwhile, “The high temperatures evaporate more of the rain.”

Brush and vegetation that take in moisture from rainfall have a better chance at withstanding a fiery blaze, Berlant noted, but when things stay bone dry, the plants act as kindling that causes the blaze to burn hotter.

So as climate change continues to transform the natural landscapes of the West, costly raging wildfires might be what Californians have to look forward to. Find that depressing? Here’s a captivating YouTube time-lapse video to distract you.

Comments

always "global warming" even though there is still zero evidence that climate change is anything that the earth hasn't been dealing with for millenia.

But hey, my back hurts today, gotta be global warming, right?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 04, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

And don't venture too far because you might fall off the edge of the earth.

Did you know that heavier objects fall faster and that the universe revolves around our planet?

How are your hairy palms?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 04, 2013 @ 3:59 pm

global warming is anything more than ideological opportunism.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 04, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

Consensus: "Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities,and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations:

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Geophysical Union

American Medical Association

American Meteorological Society

American Chemical Society

American Physical Society

The Geological Society of America

11 international science academies

U.S. National Academy of Sciences

U.S. Global Change Research Program

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

200 worldwide scientific organizations

[And this is just the short list]

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

What do you say for yourselves, flat earth trolls? Feeling sheepish yet? (no, don't let a little thing like the science get in your way.)

http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

I said that hijacking that natural process and using it to try and drive a political agenda is dishonest and disingenuous.

The world may get warmer and it may get colder. Or neither.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

Are you really that unclear on my point? Click on the link to the NASA site and find out what the scientists are actually saying. [Hint: climate change is a real phenomenon that is influenced by human activity] Just do it. I know it's hard for a troll of little brain, but you can do this. Really, you can. I have faith in you. (ha!)

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

necessarily evidence of what is usually referred to as climate change, which is the idea that it is man-made.

It's impossible to divorce the effect (if any) that we have on our climate from what would have happened anyway.

And global warming will not stop another ice age if that is what was going to happen anyway.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

It's not about whether climate changes, it's about how fast in relation to the total ecology's ability to deal with it. Humans are part of that ecology. For instance, 85% of the farm animals in Syria are dead due to severe drought. So there's widespread hunger and unemployment, to which the Syrian government could not respond, so the food riots turned to rebellion.

And so it goes. Now maybe we spend another trillion badly needed dollars blowing up sh*t because the climate is changing.

Deep thinking, eh?

Posted by Ormond Otvos on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

looked just like a picture from Burning Man.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

really

does anyone with a brain in their head believe that these moronic twit climate change denier trolls have any place in an adult conversation about anything?

please

just cut these jerk-offs

off

please................

institute a registration policy

and/or AT LEAST provide a way for individual readers to block specific posters so we don't have to experience their stupid crap

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

belief structure is challenged.

Of course, we know from the 20th century of communist states, that they cannot endure without suppressing basic civil rights including free speech. Indeed they required a vast secret police network to brutally deny freedoms, as we also see in much of the arab world today.

But it is important to see that, even in America, there are forces who wish to stifle debate and dissent, with a view to there being only one truth - the official sanctified truths of progressivism.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

The only thing SFBG knows about you, me or anyone else here is the IP address that we choose to use for any given post. And there are millions of those we can choose from.

Even registration would not help, as there is an unlimited number of emails and account names you can use.

I actually respect SFBG for not trying to censor, but rather honoring the long tradition of open debate in this free country of ours.

Posted by anon on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

plenty of readers and commenters with your incessant, repetitious "contributions" here.

When the SFBG unveils its registration policy, you can congratulate yourself for furthering "the long tradition of open (sic) debate in this free (sic) country of ours."

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

any post of mine. Although i am flattered that you think I wield that much power and influence.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

it works on other sites perfectly well

time to make it happen here

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

There is very little that a host site can do to ban a particular person, because there is no good way of identifying anyone on the internet.

That is why every chat site i have seen manages access via either email addresses or IP addresses. Both can be duplicated infinitely.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

you are admitting your life sucks and that you are a loser.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

of all of the news blog sites I access, the SF Guardian is number one in allowing lame asshole trolls to rule the comment sections

it's insulting and ridiculous

lots of others are far more well moderated and tolerable: TruthOut, Fog City Journal, CounterPunch, even SF Weekly

just name any damned blog site off the top of your head, it'll be far more respectful and tolerable than this one

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 10:53 pm

Removing comments that do not meet guidelines is fine, although it takes a lot of work, and therefore expense.

It's banning a poster that is hard to do effectively, because a host site has no real way of identifying anyone except by email or IP.

Focus on the message, not the messenger, and you'll be happier and more tolerant.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 5:07 am

when trolls have their asinine and abusive comments deleted regularly they quickly go somewhere else to bully and harass others

for all intents and purposes, that's effectively booting a troll

i will now await your reply with some hairsplitting microscopic rebuttal about the meaning of the word "boot"

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 9:20 am

If a troll gets posts removed, it increases his resolve to beat the system by engaging in ever more sophisticated and opaque ways of posting. It becomes a badge of pride to a troll to overcome whatever a host site does to try and block him.

In that sense, trolls are more like hackers - both rise to a challenge.

It also becomes very expensive for the host site to do this - something I feel sure that the SFBG owners could not justify.

It's far cheaper and easier to develop some tolerance for diverse opinions than try and micro-manage the message.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 9:44 am

i have been managing discussion boards since 1992 when there wasn't even a world wide web and have repeatedly seen that cutting off trolls indeed gets almost all of them to give up and go somewhere else, where it is easier for them to get away with their crap

most trolls are just undereducated assholes with an addiction to starting conflict with and between others; not sophisticated hackers who have a lot more interesting things to do with their lives than brainlessly harass people on blogs

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 10:00 am

are spending a lot of time talking to them here.

Posted by anon on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 10:14 am

i've only been posting on this thread for a few days, and it is natural that if i am attacking trolls, it is fair to engage them in debate about their ability to continue their irritating vapid nonsense

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 10:26 am

but do not ban people for being foul mouthed and calling people names.

Tis is one of the reasons the liberal fringe is so comical.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 6:28 am

IP addresses cannot be duplicated infinitely.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 6:07 am

the list of proxy servers, there were about four million of them.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 6:48 am

If SFBG bans what they think is the IP address of a particular poster, they may just end up blocking access to SFBG from the central library or from a Mission district coffee shop.

IP's identify locations, not people, and with mobile computing becoming the norm, using IP's to manage access just doesn't work.

Posted by anon on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 7:47 am

with this discussion of ways you can outwit the comment registration process that the SFBG is considering.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 8:31 am

types of censorship they may try. Even a fairly sophisticated comment management system like Disqus can only ban by email address and IP address. Vary those and you are off to the races again.

Host sites can achieve some success with stricter registration processes, such as requiring a valid cell phone number to which a password or PIN is texted before access is allowed. But that is considered bad ethics on the web and would deter the casual user that SFBG needs if it wants to increase readership.

They could invest in some smart cookies to further try and limit access, but those are easily deleted by your browser or utility.

In the end, host sites can never know who any of us are, and spending a lot of money to try and control the message is hard to justify. For instance, SFBG could require pre-moderate of all comments and simply not publish the ones they do not like. But that would be almost a full-time job 24/7, or else the delays in posts appearing would be unacceptably long.

In the end, free speech is probably the best solution. The idea that you can control people is a myth.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 8:48 am

to see a hapless troll arguing so vociferously and convolutedly against his own possible exile, flailing ridiculously to pretend there is no practical way to moderate a blog, something that happens successfully and easily on hundreds of thousands of blogs every day -

- essentially begging not to get cut off of his addiction to abusing and insulting other people

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 9:49 pm

All that can be done is block email addresses and IP's, and there are millions of each that are available.

Sites can moderate content by removing comments they do not like. But not only is censorship ugly and bad internet etiquette, but it is also very time-consuming and expensive. SFBG's bottomline-focuses owners are unlikely to spend money to be accused of suppressing debate.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

eliminate comments. Gasp. What will you do?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 2:34 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

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Posted by kaminomotoindonesia.co.id on Sep. 08, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

Why not 100%? When you pay for results, they will come. When you create a new science, those who invented it are not in the 'disagree' crowd.
The globe is not warming for soon to be 2 decades. My area: 'Julytober' was born in this frigid summer.
Also nearly a century ago, firestorms swept through the area. The dry winds, blistering heat ignighted into huge storms of fire. Apocalyptic peak.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

cap actually increased.

Global warming my ass.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

Rebecca, a little research wouldn't go astray. Coogle Bushfires in Australia, South America, Africa to name a couple of countries.
Bush Fires is a normal part of natures cycle, from the ashes new growth always appears, in fact the ashes from the burn off makes good fertilizer. Since people started recording events major Bushfires have been recorded.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 04, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

little more than kneejerk stories like this.

If something bad happens, it must be global warming, even though we've been having wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and everything else since forever.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 04, 2013 @ 5:01 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 1:53 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

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Posted by The Nuts &Amp; Bolts For Deciding On Primary Elements Of on Feb. 27, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

is what's responsible for them growing larger and larger. The Sierras and the coastal range both need fire on a regular basis to clear out underbrush. Unfortunately humans, who see everything through THEIR lens, have decided to interrupt that cycle. Thus we end up with bigger fires.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Sep. 04, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

Fires are, of course, a big part of the natural forest ecology. Meanwhile, we intervene by putting them out, leaving more fuel for the next fire.

Of course the SFBG blames everything on global warming. The only real downside is that this diverts attention from reports on global warming from legitimate news sources who require some research for their stories. The SFBG should have zero credibility with everyone, but unfortunately, it doesn't.

Scientists bore holes into the trees and take other samples to identify dry periods that occurred centuries ago.

Posted by Troll on Sep. 04, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

Hmm, who exactly does SFBG not have zero credibility with?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 04, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

Some of the local stuff that SFBG writes about ranks pretty highly in Google. It often doesn't have a lot of competition.

The first time I found SFBG online was when I Googled something and it sent me to a Tim Redmond story. I am pretty slow so it took me three paragraphs to realize that I wasn't reading a truthful accounting; Redmond was just saying whatever he wanted to in order to advance his agenda.

In this case, legitimate journalists have looked at the wildfires in light of global warming with mixed opinions. The NY Times says:

"Humans are often responsible for starting the fires, accidentally or intentionally; some spin out of control. The suppression of smaller fires can lead to buildups of burnable brush that can feed a huge, destructive blaze when it is sparked. That is true of the California blaze and many others in the American West; it is also what has happened in significant recent blazes in Turkey, according to Chadwick Oliver, director of the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry at Yale University."

Posted by Troll on Sep. 04, 2013 @ 7:21 pm

You lifted your quote from this article but didn't have the decency to mention this paragraph:

"Experts say this is just a foretaste of major fires to come, in the United States and much of the world. Increasing incursions by humans into forests, coupled with altered forest ecology and CLIMATE CHANGE, will make fires bigger and more destructive, with implications for air quality as well as homes and infrastructure." (caps are mine)

Note that it merely says that humans start the fires while burnable brush feeds the blaze, but you oh-so-conveniently left out the part about climate change. And you have the nerve to gripe about Tim.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/05/business/energy-environment/wildfires-...

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 11:14 am

Global warming remains a myth without any specific proof.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 11:45 am

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