A single, devastating California fire season wiped out years of efforts to cut emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases from the states forests and brushlands, driving a major shift in how public policy officials view the threat of global warming and the role of forests and climate in fighting it.
The fire season was among the worst ever in California and nationally, with fire seasons in 2007, 2008, and 2009 among the ten worst. The state has recorded one of the hottest years on record, on average, for both the Northern and Southern components of the U.S.
Its the hottest year on record for the U.S., as a whole, said John Christy, the director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and a principal investigator on NASAs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its the worst year in California ever, and youve got a long way to go to get to a normal type of year.
NASA published its findings on global warming in its April, 2010, issue as part of its Third National Climate Assessment. The report, which looked at how the climate has evolved since 1950, finds that the current state of the worlds climate is the result of human contribution to climate change and is disturbing. NASA, in a press release, called the report comprehensive, comprehensive, and comprehensive.
Its not about doom and gloom. Its about how we can do something to stop it, said Christy, referring to efforts to fight climate change.
The recent fire season, in California and elsewhere in the nation, has been especially damaging to California, where the climate has been growing more and more extreme. Fire seasons that normally dont happen much longer are now the norm.
Weve had three years running now without a winter, and thats the norm in many parts of the country, said Christy. �