Cliff Mass Weather And Weather Blog

On one hands, there are those who don’t have confidence in the prospect of human-caused weather change, mistakenly thinking an increase of a few hundred parts per million of CO2 cannot be important. These are wrong. Increasing CO2 will considerably change the weather of our world during this hundred years.

And then there are those who suggest that practically every severe weather event is the consequence of anthropogenic climate. Lately we’ve seen a great exemplary case of how hyping global warming effects can have a very negative impact, with potentially severe implications for those suffering from a real environmental devastation. The effects of the fires were catastrophic: 44 people lost their lives, 9000 buildings destroyed, 21,000 damaged, thousands of acres burned over, and Beijing-like air pollution affecting the health of millions of individuals in the Bay area. The fires began after a normal dry summer that followed a wet winter, one that produced a lush crop of flammable grasses.

But the main element to the open fire initiation and spread were powerful “Diablo” easterly winds, gusting to 50-90 mph. Winds that not only began many fires, but triggered then to explode and quickly transfer to populated regions then. As noted in my previous blogs, there is no reason to suspect that anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming contributed to this event. The prior wet winter was important, strong winds were essential (and they might even reduce under global warming), and in a normal or the fuels are dry enough to burn off, with or without warming.

Importantly, there have been huge increases in population in regions that have burned for millennia, and fire suppression and the invasion of flammable invasive varieties (e.g., Eucalyptus trees) have made the spot a dangerous tinderbox. Recently, official investigations by California’s established investigative company (CalFire) have found that a lot of fires were caused by trees and shrubs and branches falling on power lines handled by the neighborhood electricity (PG&E).

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PG&E is responsible for clearing the region around the lines to prevent such fires–it appears that they didn’t execute a very good job at it and according to CA rules should be accountable for the fire damage. Actually, CalFire has communicated their concerns about PG&E to local law enforcement personnel. But what exactly are some major politicians saying? They blame the fires on human-caused climate change and the “new normal”, thus possibly giving PG&E a way to escape liability.

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