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FEATURING LEROY WESTERLING – The record-breaking wildfires in California’s Napa and Sonoma Counties were the most devastating such disasters that area has experienced in decades. Dozens of people died and huge swathes of residential neighborhoods and vineyards were completely destroyed. Smoke and ash from the fires has made its way into San Francisco where residents are now being forced to wear protective masks and schools are being temporarily shut.

But what we have witnessed this fall may frighteningly be the new normal. A perfect set of conditions: lush vegetation from a wetter winter, a dry hot summer, and strong winds, fueled the fires and helped them sweep through large areas. Climate scientists are not surprised however.

Read Westerling’s published paper ‘Climate drives inter-annual variability in probability of high severity fire occurrence in the western United States’ HERE, and read his article in The Guardian newspaper last year, ‘This year’s wildfires are bad. Climate change will make future ones worse’ HERE.

Leroy Westerling,  Westerling is co-director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at the University of California. He just co-wrote “Climate drives inter-annual variability in probability of high severity fire occurrence in the western United States” for the journal Environmental Research Letters. His article in the Guardian newspaper last year predicted the increasing severity of wild fires.

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