Science

Climate change will increase wildfires by 50 percent by 2100, study says

As told by a new report conducted by the United Nations Environment Program, the world could see an increase in wildfires due to continued changing climate conditions.

The report cited two main factors, land-use change as well as climate change, as the driving force behind extreme wildfires, and the it projects that the number of wildfires will rise by 14 percent by 2030, 30 percent by the conclusion of 2050, and 50 percent by 2100.

“Wildfires are burning longer and hotter in places they always have occurred, and are flaring up in unexpected places too, in drying peatlands and on thawing permafrost,” states the report, which also attributes greenhouse gases that have been added to the earth’s atmosphere as the driver of rising global temperatures from humans burning fossil fuels.

Following the Industrial Revolution, global surface temperatures have increased by roughly 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, as noted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The U.N. report states that climate change additionally results in more extreme events in the weather, like stronger winds, more dry lightning, and overall higher temperatures which more quickly dry out the vegetation that feeds wildfires. Those consequences have all risen in tandem over the past few decades as the climate continues changing.

“The heating of the planet is turning landscapes into tinderboxes, while more extreme weather means stronger, hotter, drier winds to fan the flames,” the report notes.

Still, people continue to construct homes and other buildings in areas that are already often the location of wildfires. Scientists have warned repeatedly that the mixture of adding new dwellings in wildfire-prone areas as well as the steadily changing climate is extremely dangerous, which is a conclusion supported by the U.N. report. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: YAHOO.COM

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