Scientist Finds ‘No Credible Evidence’ Global Warming Caused California Wildfires

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown called wildfires ripping through Southern California part of the “new normal,” and The New York Times said the state was in for “a future with more fire” because of global warming.

Sounds terrifying, but it’s just not backed up with the weight of scientific evidence, according to Cliff Mass, a climate scientist at the University of Washington.

“Those that are claiming the global warming is having an impact are doing so either out of ignorance or their wish to use coastal wildfires for their own purposes,” Mass wrote of the wildfires on his blog.

“Wildfires are not a global warming issue, but a sustainable and resilience issue that our society, on both sides of the political spectrum, must deal with,” Mass wrote on Sunday.

Wildfires have scorched large swaths of Southern California, forcing thousands to flee and destroying hundreds of structures. Politicians and some news outlets have tied the fires to man-made global warming.

“With climate change, some scientists are saying that Southern California is literally burning up,” Brown said on Saturday. “So we have to have the resources to combat the fires and we also have to invest in managing the vegetation and forests … in a place that’s getting hotter.”

E&E News reported “Scientists See Climate Change in California’s Wildfires” and Rolling Stone ran an article calling the wildfires “California’s Climate Emergency.”

Mass, however, wrote that “there is no credible evidence that global warming is causing an increase currently or will increase in the future of the number or intensity of wildfires over coastal California from San Diego to the [San Francisco] Bay region.”

“A reading of the peer-reviewed literature on California fires and an examination of observations and prior climate information can easily show that these claims are baseless, if not outright wrong,” Mass wrote, pointing to several sources.

The latest National Climate Assessment report gave the connection between global warming and western wildfires a “low” to “medium” confidence rating and even presented evidence showing a decrease in large wildfires across Mediterranean California.

Based on the peer-reviewed evidence, Mass said other factors, like “prior fire suppression, irresponsible expansion of homes, the influx of invasive grasses” have only exacerbated wildfires in the Golden State.

California has a long history of wildfires sparking late in the year. This year, heavy winter rainfall spurred plant growth, which dried out in summer and provided an abundance of fuel for fires — most of which are man-made.

“Coastal California has dry summers because the jet stream goes far north during the warm season and they don’t have many thunderstorms because of the relatively cool Pacific,” Mass wrote. “So grasses, shrubs, and other fuels will be dry by the end of summer and during fall, no matter what.”

“So even if the summer/fall temperatures rose and the conditions dried further under global warming, IT WOULD NOT MATTER,” Mass wrote. “Without any additional warming, the fuels in late summer and fall are dry enough to burn over coastal California and always have been.”

Brown, among others, argue global warming is delaying rainfall that generally comes in the fall, contributing to longer fire seasons. Mass contested this argument.

“First, there is no trend in late fall (October to December) precipitation over the southern CA coastal zone,” Mass wrote. “And in any case, southern CA climatologically gets very little precipitation during the fall — and this the impacts are minor.”

Mass also looked at the literature on the Santa Ana winds, the strong, dry offshore winds that often accompany devastating wildfires. Mass found that global warming is actually expected to weaken, not strengthen, Santa Ana winds.

Read more at Daily Caller

Comments (7)

  • Avatar

    SpurwingPlover

    |

    Moonbeam Brown is a blabbering idiot who lies and lies and lies when is he due for a Pinnochio?

  • Avatar

    Amber

    |

    Brown thinks this is the new normal . Nah don’t think so .
    Once the fires have released all that wonderful CO2 plant food it will take many years before humans can light them again .
    Instead of proactively doing controlled burns each year
    California has opted to let nature do what they could have done without the property damage and this will not look good on Moonbeams global warming report card . That is a lot of CO2 to offset . Sorry for the innocent victims of this disaster .

  • Avatar

    David Lewis

    |

    We need to understand the basic logic of the climate alarmists. Wildfires are bad. Everything that is bad is caused by climate change. Therefore California Wildfires are caused by climate change. This means that the industrial world has to contract our economies to reduce emissions and force the middle class into relative poverty.

    I would like add a positive note. In 1986 I was in San Diego on a business trip. From the parking lot of a shopping mall I saw where a brush fire had started. Due to the extremely steep hill that the fire was on, it seemed as if it would be impossible to fight. As I watched, the local fire department did an excellent job of putting out the fire.

  • Avatar

    Amber

    |

    Santa Anna winds are not new and California is basically desert add a few lightning strikes or humans with Bic lighters and hello a $billion in property damage .
    OK Moonbeam where are you going to buy all those carbon offsets
    from to pay for your massive contribution of CO2 ?
    Sucks when nature kicks are hole in your plan . That’s the old normal . Get used to it Brownie .

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

    |

    The Bel-Air fire of 1961 was far worst then this and Moonbeam was just future liberal nit-wit starting up and learning from his dad

  • Avatar

    Amber

    |

    Homeless people camp fires caused at least one the fires but even if it was lightning a lack of brush management is now coming home to roost . We are so good at putting little fires out thus letting vegetation grow and setting the stage for what is currently going on . Moonbeam and his new normal comment is utter nonsense
    unless they don’t learn from this devastating tragedy .

  • Avatar

    rakooi

    |

    “….But they made one point clear: Climate change is affecting the Earth, now, in profound ways, and scientists have proven it.

    “What goes on is still dominated by the weather, in day-to-day events. But the manifestation of that weather is systematically being influenced by climate change,” Trenberth says. “So in drought, what you might regard as normal variability in some sense, there’s an additional component of it related to climate change . . . It makes the drought more severe. It increases the risk of wildfire. There are systematically more and more of these kinds of events.”

    Trenberth is perhaps best known for his research into how Hurricane Katrina, and later Hurricane Sandy, were influenced by climate change. “These storms have gone beyond the bounds of previous existence, and we can document, with considerable certainty, that some of the environmental changes that we know exist—warmer sea temperatures, warmer water below the surface, warmer air—those are worsening factors,” he says. “I’m not saying the storms came into existence or were more frequent. But once we’re given such a storm, then its consequences are somewhat graver.”

    Of this summer’s wildfires, Trenberth says models show that warmer weather is going to evaporate water on the ground more quickly, making everything drier and more susceptible to severe fire. That’s not to say grass doesn’t always get dry in the summer, or that climate change is causing the grass to catch on fire. But it does contribute. “It doesn’t cause it, it increases the risk. Something comes along like lightning, that can ignite these things and trigger a wildfire,” he says.

    Richard Gammon, a UW professor in oceanography and atmospheric science, says he thinks scientists, if anything, are being too conservative with their modeling on the present effects of climate change. “Young scientists don’t want to be extreme,” he says. “The IPCC [the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] is more conservative than the personal opinions of most climate scientists. Most climate scientists are scared and depressed, and they wish the message would get out.”

    Now in emeritus status, Gammon says he feels it incumbent to shed the cloak of disinterest and become an activist based on what he knows about climate change. “Do I lose my objectivity a little bit? Maybe. But I’m doing this for my kids,” he says. …”

Comments are closed