US wildfires are what global warming really looks like, scientists warn

Friday, June 29, 2012 - 06:00 in Earth & Climate

The Colorado fires are being driven by extreme temperatures, which are consistent with IPCC projectionsScorching 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," Princeton University's Michael Oppenheimer, a lead author for the UN's climate science panel, said during a telephone press briefing. "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."In Colorado, wildfires that have raged for weeks have killed four people, displaced thousands and destroyed hundreds of homes. Because winter snowpack was lighter than usual and melted sooner, fire season started earlier in the US...

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