This Week in the Mercury

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Burn, Baby, Burn! Climate Change and Forest Fires

Posted by Nathan Gilles on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM

And now some really bad news…

Think those wildfires in New Mexico and Colorado are flukes? Think again. We are going to see a lot more fiery destruction in the coming decades. And the reason is: (you guessed it) human-caused climate change.

According to a recent study published in the journal Ecosphere, wildfires are expected to dramatically increase in this century. According to another study, possibly the worse hit will be the US Southwest, which is expected to get hotter and hotter year after year.

That’s right, no more weekend jaunts to Santa Fe on your private jet to get your green chile fix and buy turquoise jewelry and painted pottery from the local pueblos—because BURN, BABY, BURN! Oh, and the (melting) icing on the cake of doom is this: as the planet warms not only will the earth start to fart methane (a powerful greenhouse gas)—as it’s doing right now in the frozen northlands—forests in North America are going to start burping carbon dioxide. And this will only make matters worse.

So there you have it, the Earth is going to turn into your father after a heavy, unhealthy meal: burping and farting its way to an early grave.

Okay, maybe you don’t have a private jet. And maybe your father’s sphincters aren’t very vocal. And maybe this isn’t news to you, and you don’t want to meditate on the slow transformation of our home planet into a Venusian hothouse. Well then, this might cheer you up. While climate change is depressing, watching people light seeping methane on fire is cool.


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