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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #34

Posted on 25 August 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

A World On Fire 

Wildfires NAA 8-23-18 

To see the image on Worldview:

The world is on fire. Or so it appears in this image from NASA's Worldview. The red points overlaid on the image designate those areas that by using thermal bands detect actively burning fires. Africa seems to have the most concentrated fires. This could be due to the fact that these are most likely agricultural fires. The location, widespread nature, and number of fires suggest that these fires were deliberately set to manage land. Farmers often use fire to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality.

Elsewhere the fires, such as in North America are wildfires for the most part.  In South America, specifically Chile has had horrendous numbers of wildfires this year.  A study conducted by Montana State University found that: "Besides low humidity, high winds and extreme temperatures—some of the same factors contributing to fires raging across the United States—central Chile is experiencing a mega drought and large portions of its diverse native forests have been converted to more flammable tree plantations, the researchers said."  More on this study can be found here:

However, in Brazil the fires are both wildfires and man-made fires set to clear crop fields of detritus from the last growing season. Fires are also commonly used during Brazil’s dry period to deforest land and clear it for raising cattle or other agricultural or extraction purposes. The problem with these fires is that they grow out of control quickly due to climate issues. Hot, dry conditions coupled with wind drive fires far from their original intended burn area. According to the Global Fire Watch site (between 8/15 and 8/22) shows: 30,964 fire alerts.

Australia is also where you tend to find large bushfires in its more remote areas. Hotter, drier summers in Australia will mean longer fire seasons – and urban sprawl into bushland is putting more people at risk for when those fires break out. For large areas in the north and west, bushfire season has been brought forward a whole two months to August – well into winter, which officially began 1 June.  According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (Bom), the January to July period 2018 was the warmest in NSW since 1910. As the climate continues to change and areas become hotter and drier, more and more extreme bushfires will break out across the entire Australian continent.

NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)Worldview application provides the capability to interactively browse over 700 global, full-resolution satellite imagery layers and then download the underlying data. Many of the available imagery layers are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it looks "right now. This satellite image was collected on August 22, 2018. Actively burning fires, detected by thermal bands, are shown as red points. Image Courtesy: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). Caption: Lynn Jenner with information from Global Fire WatchAustralian Bureau of Meteorology, and

To see the image on Worldview:

World On Fire by Lynn Jenner, Goddard Space Flight Center,, Aug 23, 2018

Links posted on Facebook

Sun Aug 19, 2018

Mon Aug 20, 2018

Tue Aug 21, 2018

Wed Aug 22, 2018

Thu Aug 23, 2018

Fri Aug 24, 2018

Sat Aug 25, 2018

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Comments 1 to 3:

  1. A couple of your facebook articles have a message when connected together. The Democrats back down on refusing to accept campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry is indeed unfortunate. Perhaps they could learn a bitter lesson from Malcolm Turnball, who has abandoned climate change targets. Despite this compromise to try to please right wing factions, he has still lost the job of prime minister.

    This is what happens when politicians are weak, and give away their core positions. They get no respect for this. It looks to me like the Democrats are also trying to please everyone, and will end up pleasing nobody.

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  2. Aus is such a disappointment.  If there is one country in the world that could rapidly and completely become carbon neutral it is Australia.  Their resources of wind and solar are unmatched anywhere in the world.  There is one ring that controls them all and if we don't get this one sorted, none of the rest will bear fruit.  We must get vested interest money out of politics.  "Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune" was never as true as in politics.  As long as the coal industry and others are financing the politicians, why we surprised that they do their bidding.

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  3. Just to note for some geographical accuracy that NSW is NOT in northern or western Australia. It is in south eastern Australia. Fire patterns are changing differently across different parts of Australia as one might expect in a continent that streches from the tropics to cold temperate environments. And despite our Federal Government (once again in unbelievable termoil and still dominated by climate change deniers), individuals, some State governments and commercial interests are very rapidly building billions of dollars worth of renewable power generators including solar, wind, solar thermal,  many linked to battery storage or pumped water systems. 

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