Jun 20, 2016

Scorching Hot Southwest Is Climate Change In Action

Phoenix, AZ
USA
by
Lydia O’Connor
,
The Huffington Post
A home builder works at sunrise on Monday in Gilbert, Arizona, in an effort to beat the rising temperatures. Photo: AP
A home builder works at sunrise on Monday in Gilbert, Arizona, in an effort to beat the rising temperatures. Photo: AP

Deadly, record-breaking heat and wildfires sweeping across the Southwestern U.S. are a clear sign of manmade climate change at work, scientists say...

Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist and professor of meteorology at Penn State University, was in Phoenix on Friday when temperatures hit 106 degrees. He was speaking at a Democratic National Platform committee meeting, where he pointed to the extreme weather as “an example of just the sort of extreme heat that is on the increase due to human-caused climate change,” he told HuffPost. 

“The likelihood of record heat has already doubled in the U.S. due to human-caused warming,” he said, “and that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg”...

The high temperatures have hampered firefighters’ efforts to put out blazes that started before the heat set in. In New Mexico, the North Fire has grown to cover over 36,000 acres, while the Dog Head Fire southeast of Albuquerque has encompassed nearly 18,000 acres. The Sherpa Fire in Santa Barbara County has spanned nearly 8,000 acres near Santa Barbara, California. 

“Given dry conditions, the heat all goes into raising temperatures ... initially drying things out even more and increasing wild fire risk,” Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in an email to HuffPost