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Link between global warming and wildfires becoming more clear

The Eagle Creek Fire in Montana burns late in the 2012 wildfire season. Photo courtesy Inciweb/Air Attack.

Report outlines surge in fires since 1970s, as spring and summer temps increase and the snow melts earlier

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Nearly all western states have seen a huge surge in wildfires during the past 10 years, as warmer temperatures and earlier snowmelt make old forests more susceptible to large-scale blazes, according to a report issued by Climate Central.

The report also cites changed land-use practices and insect infestations as additional factors, and decades-long intensive fire suppression has also resulted in more widespread areas of fire-prone forests.

But the preponderance of evidence suggests that global warming will increase the likelihood of large fires into the future, with fire seasons up to 75 days longer than just 40 years ago — about the time the greenhouse-gas heating cycle kicked into high gear. Continue reading

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Global warming: Time to look for higher ground

This map shows where increases in sea level could affect the southern and Gulf coasts of the US. The colors indicate areas along the coast that are elevations of 1 meter or less (russet) or 6 meters or less (yellow) and have connectivity to the sea. Credit: Jeremy Weiss, University of Arizona.

Research team pinpoints the impacts of sea level rise

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Climate researchers have long known that rising sea levels from global warming will inundate coastal areas, and on some low-lying islands, residents are already making plans to relocate entire populations.

Now, a new study led by University of Arizona scientists is pinpointing exactly which areas in the U.S. will affected to help prepare for the inevitable.

Using the most detailed maps available from the U.S. Geological Survey, they determined that nine large U.S. cities, including Boson and New York, could see as much as 10 percent of their current land area threatened with a sea level rise of 10 feet. With a sea-level rise of 20 feet, about one-third of the land area in U.S. coastal cities could be affected. Continue reading

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