What Does Climate Change look like ?

As the climate is heating up one of the results are prolonged droughts. The draughts cause a lot of vegetation to die and increases the fuel for fires. Consequently historically large fires have been burning in many areas.

California Wildfires

In 2018 many fires raged in California. These images are from Northern California's Mendocino Complex fire became the largest wildfire since record-keeping in California began in 1932. The July image was taken the day before the fires broke out. (The reddish burn scar visible in that image is from the Pawnee fire of late June 2018.) Under hot, dry, windy conditions, the Ranch and River fires spread rapidly, burning more than 328,000 acres by the time of the August image and some 459,000 acres in all.

Photo: Rapid City Journal (Ryan Soderlin): Dead trees in the Black hills from the pine beetle.

The pine beetle is about the size of a grain of rice. It eats tunnels under the bark of the ponderosa and other pine trees eventually killing the tree. 

Normally, a few mountain pine beetles can help the forest by killing older and weak trees. This helps make the forest more productive. But, this recent large outbreak of beetles is doing more harm than good. It can affect water quality. It can affect the balance of the ecosystem. It can also convert the forest from a carbon sink to a carbon source.

 

Mountain pine beetle. Pacific Northwest Research Station.

But, this recent large outbreak of beetles is doing more harm than good. It can affect water quality. It can affect the balance of the ecosystem. It can also convert the forest from a carbon sink to a carbon source.

 

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