The mainstream media isn’t saying it. But the truth is obvious to anyone with a clear pair of eyes and a mind unadulterated by ideology: the US is getting pummeled by the effects of global warming induced fires and floods. Over the past week, scores of fires have burned through Colorado and California, leaving hundreds of square miles burned, hundreds of homes lost, injuries and at least one death. In Florida, the fourth named storm of a hurricane season that began far earlier than usual slammed into Florida, dumping over 30 inches of rain in some locations.
The combined one, two punch comes after the hottest spring on record in the United States and during a period of time when dust bowl era temperature records are being smashed one after another. In the mid-west, temperatures ranging from 105 to 115 degrees shattered old records, in some cases by as much as 12 degrees.
It is only June. So the early onset of high temperatures, wildfires, and tropical storms doesn’t bode well for the rest of 2012. Both wildfire and hurricane seasons usually peak during the months of August through October. The onset of record storms and fires in June is an unprecedented beginning and hopefully not a forerunner to even worse weather and fires to come.
Victims of wildfires in Colorado, after being forced to evacuate their homes, described some of the unreal scenery as they drove through the state Tuesday night. One observer said that the sky was lit with the red glow of fires raging all over the state, comparing the scene to ‘hell on Earth.’
Unfortunately, Wednesday morning saw one of the most threatening of the many fires ravaging Colorado double in size. The exploding Colorado Springs fire has now forced more than 30,000 people to flee their homes. With only 5% of the blaze contained, officials are now rushing more than a thousand firefighters to the scene. Pre-evacuation orders have also been issued in counties adjacent to the blaze and it appears that even more people may be displaced before the expanding fire is contained.
Warnings from climate scientists ignored, under-reported
Over the past three decades, climate scientists have been warning that increased global temperatures caused by human emissions of greenhouse gasses would result in more heatwaves, fires, and extreme weather events. Over the past five years, with about 1.5 degrees of warming, these kinds of events have been growing in scale and intensity. With business as usual climate estimates predicting another six degrees of warming over this century, unless greenhouse gas emissions are substantially curbed, one can only expect the extreme weather, temperatures and fires to worsen.