“What’s Behind Early Season Winds Fueling Southern California Wildfires?” is the title of a news article on NationalGeographic.com about the forest fires currently raging through the state. Though the precise cause is as yet unclear, what is clear is that the weather system which brings strong winds that intensify forest fires in Southern California, called the Santa Ana winds, usually doesn’t occur until between September or October.
The article goes on to say:
As firefighters struggle to contain the wind-fueled blazes, meteorologists and scientists say the fires could signal an especially active fire season for Southern California, fed by the wind, above-normal temperatures and tinder-dry vegetation.
The question is why these conditions are happening right now.
Nationwide, western wildfires are expected to grow more severe as climate change continues, according to the recently released National Climate Assessment, a federal report that represents the most comprehensive review of climate impacts in the U.S. in over a decade.
As temperatures rise in the future because of climate change, computer models show the region will become more fire prone, said Max Moritz, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. That’s true even if in the wetter scenario he looked at, because higher temperature trumped the added moisture.
One recent study Moritz participated in found that most of the West has shown a marked increase in forest fires over the last three decades, but it was less clear whether that was true in Southern California specifically.
Considering these fires, plus all the other abnormal weather that has occurred in this country within the past few years alone (Superstorm Sandy, tornado outbreaks, record-breaking amounts of snow and low temperatures during the past winter, etc.), you’d expect that news organizations would put aside petty partisan differences and start telling the truth about global warming/climate change. It’s just too important!
But Fox News is apparently not a real news organization– they are still spreading misinformation about global warming. I got an email tonight from League of Conservation Voters saying this about the above-mentioned National Climate Assessment and Fox New’s commentary on it:
Last week, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released a major report — the National Climate Assessment — that took an in-depth look at the causes of climate change, the challenges we face going forward, and the ways in which ordinary Americans are being affected right now.
Storm surges drowning coastal communities underwater. Worsening wildfires consuming people’s homes and taking lives. Over-stressed infrastructure failing us in times of emergency.
These are the realities described in this critical new report.
But how did Fox News frame this report? Fox News hosts Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum wrote it off as a White House attempt to “distract” Americans from the supposed Obama administration “scandals” that Fox holds so near-and-dear. And on their website, Fox News featured an op-ed calling the National Climate Assessment an “alarmist document” full of “untrue, unrelenting doom and gloom.”
Across the country, Americans are struggling with the effects of climate change, and Fox News couldn’t care less about them, calling climate change the “the oldest superstition around.”
When a report as comprehensive and significant as the National Climate Assessment is released, we have a chance to connect the dots for Americans who are struggling to adapt to the effects of climate change and get them on board with our campaign for action.
But if Fox News keeps misleading and insulting them without repercussions, we won’t get the momentum we need to get real change.
I’m furious that Fox News is still lying to people. Their behavior is not only ignorant, but disrespectful and grossly irresponsible. But what can we do? Well, for one, don’t watch Fox News! Another thing you can do is join the movement that is trying to hold places like Fox accountable for their actions. The email came with a petition that I’d love for as many people as possible to sign:
Tell Fox News their coverage of the National Climate Assessment is disgraceful! Sign here!