Scientist Blasts Media "Misinformation" Linking Wildfires To Global Warming

Authored by Michael Bastasch via The Daily Caller,

With wildfires engulfing over 620,000 acres of California, there’s been a concerted media campaign to single out man-made global warming as the primary force behind the deadly blazes.

But that’s not what the data suggests, according to University of Washington climate scientist Cliff Mass.

“So there is a lot misinformation going around in the media, some environmental advocacy groups, and some politicians,” Mass wrote in the first of a series of blog posts analyzing the California wildfires.

“The story can’t be simply that warming is increasing the numbers of wildfires in California because the number of fires is declining. And area burned has not been increasing either,” Mass wrote.

Firefighters are struggling to put out the largest fire in recent decades, the Mendocino Complex fire, that’s consumed over 300,000 acres in northern California. Environmentalists and some scientists have pushed a media narrative that blazes across the state to global warming.

“Climate change is making wildfires more extreme. Here’s how,” PBS Newshour warned viewers on Monday, quoting Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann.

“You warm the planet, you’re going to get more frequent and intense heat waves. You warm the soils, you dry them out, you get worst drought,” Mann said.

“You bring all that together, and those are all the ingredients for unprecedented wildfires.”

The San Francisco Chronicle ran with similar coverage: “Scientists see fingerprints of climate change all over California’s wildfires.”

The Chronicle also quoted Mann, who further argued global warming weakened the jet stream, causing extreme weather patterns to persist.

“These factors work together to produce the sorts of persistent extreme weather events — droughts, floods, heat waves, wildfires — that we’re seeing across the Northern Hemisphere right now,” Mann said.

However, Mass combed through California wildfire statistics, finding state figures showed a decrease in acres burned in four out of five regions. U.S. Forest Service data for public forests and lands in California shows mixed trends, with some regions having just as big of fires as in the 1920s.

“The bottom line of the real fire data produced by the State of California and in the peer-reviewed literature is clear: there has been no upward trend in the number of wildfires in California during the past decades,” Mass wrote on his blog.

“In fact, the frequency of fires has declined,” he wrote. “And in most of the state, there has not been an increasing trend in area burned during the past several decades.”

Clearly, climate change is only one possible factor in controlling fire frequency and may not be the most important,” Mass wrote.

While seasonal weather is an important ingredient for wildfires, it’s not the only factor, making it particularly hard to attribute fires to global warming. Land management and population growth are also major factors, since most fires are started by humans.

A recent study found the risk of fire increased in once rural areas as populations increased, putting more buildings, plants, vehicles and other ignition sources in fire-prone areas that were once sparsely populated.

“This is a people problem,” U.S. Geological Survey fire scientist Jon Keeley told The San Jose Mercury News. “What’s changing is not the fires themselves but the fact that we have more and more people at risk.”

Mass authored a similar analysis of California’s 2017 wildfire season when many media outlets suggested the blazes were driven by man-made warming.

“Those that are claiming the global warming is having an impact are doing so either out of ignorance or their wish to use coastal wildfires for their own purposes,” Mass wrote in 2017.

“Wildfires are not a global warming issue, but a sustainable and resilience issue that our society, on both sides of the political spectrum, must deal with,” Mass wrote.


superyankee OpTwoMistic Fri, 08/10/2018 - 16:52 Permalink

In nature, forest fires are coming. They clear the dead wood and brush, leaving the more resilient tree species unharmed, allowing fertile soil for new growth.

For the past 50 years, firefighters have extinguished many of the smaller fires. This causes dead wood and brush to accumulate, gradually making the forest more vulnerable to large, catastrophic fires which destroy everything in their path, including healthy and dead trees alike.

This problem has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with human intervention. 

In reply to by OpTwoMistic

Teja Free This Fri, 08/10/2018 - 17:12 Permalink

All this arguing "there is no link to global warming" is so boringly repetitive and so evidently based on self interest. 

Anybody enjoying the current heatwaves around the world, eg in Europe, will start to wonder how it can happen that weather patterns just stay stuck, in most of Europe high pressure areas, sunny weather, in Berlin in the last 4 months only one instance of major rainfall and 3 instances of 1-2mm. Wildfires in Sweden, Greece, all over. 30 degrees celsius at the arctic circle. 

Even the "Sun", one of UK's blindest anti-global-warming newspapers, now switching their official opinion

And the explanation by weather experts relatively simple - weather systems stuck because of low power jet stream winds in the stratosphere, and those lost power because of lower temperature difference between arctic and temperate zones. Temperature differences being a powerful engine as already the inventors of the steam engine knew.

But the Godlike Americans, no, they do not believe in any "SIENTIFIC" stuff. Believe in God and his incarnation Donald Trump. Get stuffed!

In reply to by Free This

A Sentinel Teja Fri, 08/10/2018 - 17:14 Permalink

Thank goodness.

The climate bullshit is connected to very many other anti-American ventures. I used to buy the logical idea that it was Saudi, but nowadays, following the Q stuff, increasingly it seems that it is Chinese. 

Frankly, that makes sense plus it coincides with their stated goals from 10 years ago.

In reply to by Teja

Wildchemist Teja Fri, 08/10/2018 - 17:34 Permalink

I'm a research scientist (in the field of inorganic chemistry) and - although it's not "climate science" - I do know something about common sense and extremely basic fundamentals of nature. So explain this:

  1. We've had periods in our geological history when we've had more CO2 in the atmosphere but it's been cooler
  2. We've had periods in our geological history when we've had less CO2 in the atmosphere but it's been warmer
  3. The biggest proponents of "global warming" have been caught red-handed fabricating and modifying historical temperature trends.

So, on top of that, there is this quasi-religios nature to "climate science" where the people who question the conclusions, which has been a healthy thing to do since time immemorial with other fields of research, are called "deniers." Kinda odd, eh?

And then, finally, look at who benefits. Repeating a Big Lie over and over again until it becomes truth in the minds of the masses; and since this Big Lie involves a "huge global problem" then the only conclusion is to make a BIG GOVERNMENT come in a solve the problem.

And if you don't see the man behind the curtain with these thoughts in mind then go back to your alarmism. 

In reply to by Teja

Teja Wildchemist Fri, 08/10/2018 - 17:54 Permalink

Without checking if statements 1 and 2 are true, but assuming they are - there are other greenhouse gases, like H2O and Methane. Different levels of these would have the described effect.

Also, of course, the Sun has changed over time, difficult to measure exactly, but modelled approximately by astrophysics. Have you factored that in?

And regarding red-handedly catching climate scientists faking data. Also, without checking your statement but taking it for true - would you assume a political party being completely dishonest if one of their members was caught lying once? How often have anti Human Induced Climate Change people been caught lying, financed by big oil and coal interests? Why do you believe them, then?

Checking who profits from "no limits" oil and coal consumption is actually much easier than identifying larger groups (except a handful of scientists) profiteering from CO2 reduction. The "global marxist government" theory is laughable and inconsistent. Global rules exist for quite a lot of things, from trade to arms control, and the US are not controlled by globalist marxists in spite of this. 

In reply to by Wildchemist

Raisin Hail Wildchemist Fri, 08/10/2018 - 19:19 Permalink

Just to be clear science is never "settled". Science is a system of inquiry, hypothesis, experimentation, conclusion and confirmation. Results and conclusions are always and forever open to challenge and to be overturned. Anyone who says otherwise is not practicing science but some form of political control, usually religion.

Best example I have at my fingertips is Newton and Einstein. Newton's Gravitational Theory was correct but in a limited way. It did not explain relativistic effects, time dilation, the effect of velocity on mass, time space continuum etc. If Newton's Laws of Gravity we're settled science and not open to challenge the religious nuts in charge would have burned Einstein at the stake for his heresy. 

As far as global warming or climate change ( these guys really need to settle on a name) there is so much we do not understand about our planet and our universe that we are far short of the conclusion phase scientifically. This planet does not owe you the climate you desire. The one constant of our climate is it's instability and constant proclivity for change.

Good luck out there! If you are concerned about your planet's future, live responsibily according to your own conscience but do not force your religion or beliefs on others.

In reply to by Wildchemist

Meat Bunny Teja Fri, 08/10/2018 - 19:33 Permalink

Just like Hell's Angels, Mom Nature has cycles. The current long term regular drought across California is one of those cycles. Sometimes, when it doesn't rain, vegetation catches on fire.

In reply to by Teja

Rhodin Teja Sat, 08/11/2018 - 20:39 Permalink

Wildfires are down worldwide by acreage burned.

Some Scientific stuff:

1. CO2 inhibits fires and is used in some fire extinguishers

2. Warm air holds more moisture which generally inhibits ignition.

3. Massive burning of fossil fuels reduces the ambient oxygen in the atmosphere, which reduces the intensity of fires

Californica  has two relevant problems, poor forest management and firebugs.

Yes it is interesting that weather patterns are "stuck" more often.  It will likely get more interesting.  Climate change is indeed happening. We are nearing the end of this interglacial period.  But it has little to do with CO2 or man's mucking about.



In reply to by Teja

armageddon addahere KingTut Sat, 08/11/2018 - 01:11 Permalink

One thing no one ever mentions - the elimination of wild beaver by trapping in the 19th century eliminated thousands of beaver dams that held back melt water in the spring, creating ponds and nourishing stands of trees where now there are deserts especially to the east of the Rocky Mountains but also to the west. I didn't know this until I read Eager by Ben Goldfarb. If they reintroduced the beaver there would be a lot less drought problems.

In reply to by KingTut

PocoPete superyankee Fri, 08/10/2018 - 20:25 Permalink

Pine bark beetles:

I am not sure about California but in Washington and Alaska the pine bark beetle plays a major role in wild fires.  Winter spells of minus-40-Celsius (minus-40-Fahrenheit) temperatures once killed off bark beetle larvae, but those deep freezes now occur less often. And warmer summers enable some beetles to complete their reproductive cycle in one year instead of two, speeding up population growth. 

The bark beetle is responsible for killing 10's of thousands of trees in the forests and dead and dry trees burn like crazy. 

Whether the recent warmer climate temperatures is caused by man made global warming or is just a natural climate cycle is debatable.  But the recently observed increase in populations of bark beetles is well documented.


In reply to by superyankee

petroglyph PocoPete Fri, 08/10/2018 - 21:25 Permalink

Washington and Alaska are very similar in that the tree huggers didn't want to let those mature forests be logged. So instead of humans having a chance to benefit from the forests, they were turned over to the beetles. Environmentalists won't even allow fire roads to be put in in advance.

They protested fire trails in New Mexico the same way, and the worlds largest Ponderosa pine forest had to be left to burn.

When will humans be given equal dignity to beetles?

In reply to by PocoPete

chiquita Teja Fri, 08/10/2018 - 17:50 Permalink

Too bad you're in Europe where there are no terrorists and crazy people.  If you had the benefit of our news--fake or not--you'd have seen the latest wack job who was arrested for starting one of the big sections of fire in California.  He is batshit crazy and apparently did it out of retribution for some business problems he had with people in the area.  Much of the area on fire was started due to arson that was not done due to what you call "free enterprise".  These are not those kinds of areas.

In reply to by Teja

PitBullsRule TheWholeYearInn Fri, 08/10/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

He's sorta right, and sorta wrong.

The fires are a result of arson, there are more arsonists now, and the government is ineffective, non-functional, and only the government could collect the funds to put them out. So the arsonists set more, and the government no longer puts them out.

But also there is the bark beetle, the trees protect themselves from the bark beetle by making sap, and sap takes water, and it never rains in California any more. So it may be partially due to climate change, but mostly due to arson, and a defunct government.

The fires will burn until it rains, and it will rain in September, maybe. So its going to burn another month or so, and then it will go out. The world will have less forest, and every year there will be less forest, until there is so little forest, that you will finally get the climate change you have been arguing for, and yearning. And then most of your kids, because you will be long dead by then, most of your kids, will slowly die a horrible death, cursing you all the way.

But for now, enjoy!

In reply to by TheWholeYearInn