US wildfires are what global warming really looks like, scientists warn
"The Colorado fires are being driven by extreme temperatures, which are consistent with IPCC projections," reports the Guardian.
The Guardian reports: "Scorching heat, high winds and bone-dry conditions are fueling catastrophic wildfires in the US west that offer a preview of the kind of disasters that human-caused climate change could bring, a trio of scientists said on Thursday.
"What we're seeing is a window into what global warming really looks like," said Princeton University's Michael Oppenheimer, a lead author for the UN's climate science panel. "It looks like heat, it looks like fires, it looks like this kind of environmental disaster … This provides vivid images of what we can expect to see more of in the future.""
Dr. Steve Running, a forest ecologist and an expert for plaintiffs in the federal ATL lawsuit explained that a lighter winter snowpack set the stage for the Colorado fires. The two-week early snowmelt "sets us up for a longer, drier summer. Then all you need is an ignition source and wind," says Running. Warmer winters also allow the tree-killing pine beetles to overwinter and leaving behind dry wood in western forests.
"Now we have a lot of dead trees to burn … it's not even July yet," Running said, which means trying to stop such fires is akin to trying to stop a hurricane.