Four people are dead. A thousand homes destroyed. Caused by a record-breaking drought and scorching tempertures. But, really. Who could ever have predicted it?
Abstract. High-temporal resolution meteorological output from the Parallel Climate Model (PCM) is used to assess changes in wildland fire danger across the western United States due to climatic changes projected in the 21st century. A business-as-usual scenario incorporating changing green- house gas and aerosol concentrations until the year 2089 is compared to a 1975–1996 base period. Changes in relative humidity, especially drying over much of the West, are projected to increase the number of days of high fire danger (based on the energy release component (ERC) index) at least through the year 2089 in comparison to the base period. The regions most affected are the northern Rockies, Great Basin and the Southwest – regions that have already experienced significant fire activity early this century.
Brace yourself; when something bad happens, something predicted to occur with greater force of frequency as the globe warms, there will be pious and not-so-pious people telling you you can't blame any particular event on climate change. That is nonsense. You simply need to understand the nature of the link, and blame intelligently -- see below.
You can't link weather events or natural disasters to anything in the way you link Lee Harvey Oswald to the assassination of Kennedy. It's more like the way you link drug abuse to the death of Amy Winehouse. Are you sure they're related? Well, you haven't seen the autopsy, but based on recent photos, you're pretty sure. Is it possible something else played a role, or even that she might have died of something else anyway? Maybe. Do any of these uncertainties make you want to give crack to you kids as a Christmas present?
"You can't be sure drugs are why I look like this."
The linkage that is meaningful here is one of risk. If you smoke you may not get cancer. If you do not smoke you may still get cancer. Cancer and smoking are still strongly linked, even if a particular case of cancer can never be attributed to any one factor.
Climate models say Texas is going to burn. Texas is burning. That burning is linked to climate change. Climate change made it more likely to happen, it's happening and it will probably happen again. Complex events always have multiple influencing factors that muddy their pedigree. Focus on what counts -- risk.
CNN: Gov. Perry: Texas fires are 'mean, swift and highly dangerous'
The Guardian: Texas fires destroy more than 1,000 homes
NYTimes: Videos Show Fire and Destruction in Texas