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Posted Tue Aug 11 2009: from Environmental Research Web:
Scientists expect wildfires to increase as climate warms in the coming decades http://apocadocs.com/s.pl?1249999716
In their pioneering work, Logan and her collaborators investigated the consequences of climate change on future forest fires and on air quality in the western United States. Previous studies have probed the links between climate change and fire severity in the West and elsewhere. The Harvard study represents the first attempt to quantify the impact of future wildfires on the air we breathe. "Warmer temperatures can dry out underbrush, leading to a more serious conflagration once a fire is started by lightening or human activity," says Logan. "Because smoke and other particles from fires adversely affect air quality, an increase in wildfires could have large impacts on human health." ... Using a series of models, the scientists predict that the geographic area typically burned by wildfires in the western United States could increase by about 50 percent by the 2050s due mainly to rising temperatures. The greatest increases in area burned (75175 percent) would occur in the forests of the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains.
[Read more stories about: climate impacts, forests]

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