Report on the Direct Correlation of Climate Change with Increased Alaskan Wildfires
“Jane Wolken is a boreal forest ecologist working as program coordinator of the Alaska Climate Adaption Science Center within the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.” Wolken describes in her recent article, the increase in wildfires is due largely to changes in the climate. Alaska has encountered three of its most substantial wildfires on record, just since the year 2000.
While Alaska has obvious risks like long summer days with little to no cloud cover; it’s now seeing additional drying of forest fuels, and an increased possibility for both lightning-caused and human-caused ignitions. This event is all and spring now warming at twice the global average. Many of these unwanted accelerations can often be traced directly back to changes in climate. Earlier spring seasons and hotter summer temperatures lead to a more severe wildfire season. (Wolken, 2019).
Forest Fires are damaging and can be very detrimental to both the environment and communities alike. There are additional risksoften involved not considered upon immediate consideration. A good example would be possible side effects of smoke inhalation from patrons both near and far from a wildfire. Breathing smoke and dust causes intense breathing discomfort and can decrease the health of with allergies and other breathing disorders.
Additionally; trees, bushes, and the broad abundance of vegetation act as a cover to watersheds within the forests. Most water comes from forest-derived water tables. With the flying debris and ash created by the burning trees and bushes, those natural protection systems may also be affected.
Changes to climate can obviously not be made instantly. Rightly, so, wildfires cannot be stopped instantly. Thus, in trying to protect property and life and to provide the best effort attempt to keep safe from side effects; fire managers and other scientists are working together in order to develop tools which will more efficiently predict the risks and onset of wildfires. Progressing both local and regional fire forecasting abilities is a high priority for all involved.
Comparable to weather forecasting, fire forecasting requires planning for both immediate and long term actions. Choices about staffing and personnel must be made promptly throughout wildfire seasons. Budgeting plans and other long term decisions can be carefully thought out over time.
Alaska covers more territory than California, Montana, and Texas combined. (Wolken, 2019). Because it’s so large, the weather station data can be isolated and intermittent. Climate-scientists overcome these station gaps by modeling local and regional climate trends. The models can assist with accurately predicting historical climate data. The model can then be used to calculate climate data sometime.
Using information from fire managers and other fuel specialists, the observed data and station forecast, data can then be added into the metrics and used to predict both near and far sighted fire risks throughout the state (Wolken, 2019).
For Alaskans especially, extraordinary climate changes are a concern. Climate-science can help assist human responses to Alaska’s growing wildfire troubles.
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