Sunday, July 7, 2013

Heat Waves, Fire, and Slow Regeneration

As we struggle to get through the first heat wave of the summer of 2013 in the East, it should be considered mild compared to what is happening in the West.

Temperatures of 110 degrees and better in Arizona and Nevada, 120+ degrees  in Death Valley are causing warped roads, power outages, and dangerous conditions.  These high temperatures do not seem to be just a spike that is happening because it's July and it's summer.  Instead it seems to be a more prolonged issue; according to

"In June, high-temperature records across the U.S. were broken 873 times and tied 423 times. New records are now on the books in North Pole, Alaska (near Fairbanks), where the mercury reached 80.1 degrees on June 1, 114.1 degrees in Zion National Park in Utah on June 29, and on June 30 in the aptly named California town ofBaker, an incredible 120 degrees. That actually turned out to be cool compared to Palm Springs, about 100 miles south, where it was 122 that same day, besting a record of 120 degrees set in 1950."

With these high temperatures we also see in increase in forest fires. The theory has always been, fire will clear out the old and create conditions favorable for forest regeneration.  But scientist are not so sure anymore. The high temperatures are creating long term droughts that make it much harder for the forests survival. 

Here is a link to a great story and video from 
Will Forest flourish after fires? In a warming world, not always.