U.S.: Forest Service Chief warns of more extreme wild fires associated with climate change

Wild fires are getting bigger and burning with greater intensity with an extended fire season, due in large part to climate change, according to testimony this week of Thomas Tidwell, Head of the US Forest Service to the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Australia: Bushfires strike with extreme heatwave blanketing most of continent

Image courtesy Australian Bureau of MeteorologyImage courtesy Australian Bureau of MeteorologyA heatwave covering 70 per cent of Australia that started on January 3 has sparked catastrophic bushfires. Tasmania has so far been the most devastated by fire with more than 100 houses and businesses razed, the Tasman peninsula cutoff, without power, and thousands evacuated by boat to Hobart. The Temperature soared in Hobart setting new records for highest daily minimum overnight temperature of 23.4C and a new maximum temperature of 41.3C.

Update Jan 8: Climate Change: Records tumble in extreme heatwave as temperature scale adjusted upwards while Prime Minister Julia Gillard links intensity of bushfires with climate change as NSW survives catastrophic fire conditions. Other states are also experiencing bushfires, but have so far brought the fires mostly under control. The heatwave is expected to last over a week with elevated temperatures particularly in inland areas. It is very unusual that a heat wave covers such a large area of the continent at one time, according to Karl Braganza, manager of climate monitoring at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Australia's weather has switched to hot and dry after one of the wettest two year periods in Australia's history influenced by an extremely strong La Nina event.

Related: Youtube animation of forecast heatwave temperatures | Scientists outline human health limits of heat stress with Climate Change (May 2010) | Flooding rains now burning plains - Bushfire risk and climate change (Oct 2011) | Logging of Victorian mountain ash forests increases bushfire risk (Oct 2011) | Intact native Forests mitigate bushfire in a warming climate (Nov 2011) | CSIRO - Climate change impacts on fire weather

extreme heatwave blanketing most of Australia January 2013

extreme heatwave blanketing most of Australia January 2013

Image from Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Forecast temperature 5pm Tuesday 8 January 2013

Changes in extent and intensity of wildfire linked to Climate change

A new international scientific study lead by a researcher from the University of Utah links extreme fire weather to increasing temperatures and drought driven by climate change.

The study, lead by geography professor Mitchell Power, found that the extent and intensity of wildfires on a continental and global basis is connected to changing temperatures and climate. The study dismissed the theory that population decline was the primary cause for reduced wildfire during the cooler periods in the last 2000 years arguing "climate change was likely more important than indigenous population collapse in driving this decline."

Drought and high temperatures continue to soar across the central plains and midwest of the United States creating the hottest July on record and the hottest month ever recorded according to NOAA.

Intact native Forests mitigate bushfire in a warming climate

As Australia's climate warms up we are facing increased bush fire risk. Old growth forests trap moisture and provide an important bulwark against bushfires, while previously logged forest regrowth with trees of the same maturity will tend to burn at a much higher intensity.

Australia: Firefighters turn Climate heat on Politicians for action

Sydney IMC: Australian Firefighters demanded action on climate change from politicians in Canberra on November 19 while much of south eastern Australia sweltered and suffered with temperatures well above 30 degrees. Many regions were declared severe, extreme or catastrophic fire danger. The Firefighters carried a banner "Firefighters for climate change action now" demanded that the Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme be passed by the Senate.

Scientists have reported this week that the Climate Treaty is more urgent with Global carbon emissions still increasing. with Australia the worst emitter on a per capita basis. Scientists have also called for Emissions need to be slashed to save Great Barrier Reef.

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