BILLINGS — Scientists from universities in Montana, Colorado and Idaho announced Wednesday the start of a 5-year, $3.85 million research project into how a changing climate will influence wildfires.

The project is being pursued in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and researchers in Australia and New Zealand. The goal is to identify how human activities and climate change drive fires.

“One thing is clear: The frequency and severity of fires have increased around and world and this is considered to be one of the signs of global climate change,” Montana State University professor Cathy Whitlock, the lead investigator for the project, said in a statement.

Warmer temperatures can worsen droughts, dry out forests and encourage the proliferation of beetles and other pests that kill trees, creating fuel for more intense fires.

Faculty from the University of Colorado, the University of Idaho and researchers from the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station will participate in the study.

The work will include studying lake sediments for insights into fires, climate and vegetation changes, using computer models to study fire behaviors in areas with different types of vegetation and looking at tree ring records to gauge historic fire frequency.

The team will collaborate with researchers at the University of Tasmania, Australian National University, the University of Aukland and Landcare Research NZ.

Whitlock said by looking at fire from an international framework, researchers hope to improve models for predicting fires and their effects.

(29) comments

logica

Burrrr - it's in the 40s tonight - unseasonably cold and wet like most of this summer. Now where the heck is that GLOBAL WARMING Al Gore promised??

GreenGirl02

Oh my goodness... you've got to be kidding me... the climate has something to do with the increasing wildfires? I bet the climate has something to do with the beetles too? (I am being sarcastic) Jokes aside, this is good to see. More research needs to be done, some people will never be convinced... but I feel if we continue to prove that the climate is changing and dooming mankind, it may awaken a handful of those denying the situation. It doesn't matter what your beliefs and opinions are. This is real, and it is happening at exponential rates. This isn't just an opinion! It is the truth, and further research is not only helping the Liberals, but your SPECIES. We need to work together!

caribouboy

$3,850,000 for what sounds like an already reached conclusion?

Hey professor, ever thought of teaching? Isn't that why MSU hired you? All these professors want is grants to fund their pet projects. How about working for a living?

And lastly, isn't there a severe recession going on? Glad the USFS has this kind of money to throw around. Maybe they can just send the money back to the working people of Montana. The Taxpayers!

4fishing
4fishing

Do we really need a study? We know that global warmming is changing the climate, we know heat and dry conditions is the link between climate and wildfire.

TellTheTruth
TellTheTruth

the link to wildfires is through the Forestry Service!

logica

Burrr! I'm shivering and there's frost on the ground already! After a very cool summer, where in the heck is that GLOBAL WARMING Al Gore promised??

ILike2comment

What's to research, here's your link... Moist summer = few natural fires = sunny day + bored forest service = BIG wildfires

Agent Smack
Agent Smack

Here let me save you some time and money...

When it's hot, it gets very dry out. When it's very hot and dry, fires can start easily. Human interaction, like controlled burns, on hot dry days can start wild fires.

There you go. That's pretty much what this study will come back with.

I will only charge 10% of the original cost of the project.

GreenGirl02

Okay, I do agree that the amount spent on this is high. But please be reminded that they are also studying WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT! The ignorance in the comments on this post is the same ignorance that started this climate disaster in the first place. Wake up and help the people who are trying to mend the damage.

Agent Smack
Agent Smack

[quote]GreenGirl02 said: "Okay, I do agree that the amount spent on this is high. But please be reminded that they are also studying WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT! The ignorance in the comments on this post is the same ignorance that started this climate disaster in the first place. Wake up and help the people who are trying to mend the damage."[/quote]

Sorry GreenGirl02, but nowhere does it say anything about WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT! "The goal is to identify how human activities and climate change drive fires."

Warmer climate = drier vegetation. Drier vegetation + human interaction = more opportunity for wildfires.

It doesn't take a team of geniuses and $3.85 million to figure that out.

justme59601

greengirl,

to date there has not been any proof that the so-called "global warming" is man made. So how can you say were ignorant by not trying to stop what caused it? don't reference any "facts" published by all the "scientists" that tweaked all their numbers and lied to us. the fact is we can't do anything about the climate change because it's natural so working together won't do anything. the sad thing is that if Al Gore said the earth was flat so many liberals would be right there on that bandwagon telling us to stay away from the edge or we'll fall off.

lulzysoslow

[quote]caribouboy said: "Hey professor, ever thought of teaching? Isn't that why MSU hired you? All these professors want is grants to fund their pet projects. How about working for a living?[/quote]

So much Fail.

[quote]And lastly, isn't there a severe recession going on? Glad the USFS has this kind of money to throw around. Maybe they can just send the money back to the working people of Montana. The Taxpayers!"[/quote]

That would actually be the US tax payers. So 3,850,000 price tag, split up between the 300 million or so people in the US... and you contributed .01283 cents. Dang that is going to be a huge refund check.

quick1

I love how the article states that "the goal is to identify how human activities and climate change drive fires," followed immediately by Dr. Whitlock's (or is that Dr. Witless?) conclusion that "the frequency and severity of fires have increased around and world and this is considered to be one of the signs of global climate change.” End of study, no measure of "frequency" or "severity," and references necessary.

News flash for Dr. Whitlock: Cooler temperatures are far more likely to encourage the proliferation of beetles and other pests that kill trees, and create much more fuel for more intense fires too.

And why bother using pre-determined computer models to study fire behaviors in areas with different types of vegetation . . . why not actually observing it on the ground?

This study, like the hundreds that have gone down with a thud before it, will supposedly end up with "new and improved models" for predicting fires. In other words the models will put interpretation before results, and serve as little more than a wild, common-sense guess to which most lightning stikes and forest circus employees won't pay any attention.

As for GreenGirl, please: take some elementary math, chemistry and physics classes; define "exponential rates" of climate change; learn to distinguish your emotional, opinionated beliefs from quantitative, empirical fact; and kindly tell us all - in lurid detail - how/why/what current "climate distaster" is dooming mankind. Thanks.

bridge1

The US deficit for 2007 was 161 billion.
For 2008 it was 459 billion
For 2010 it is expected to be 1300 billion.
What is more alarming to you?...
• Our reliance on non-renewable energy?
• Global warming?

Not to worry, we will be in financial ruin long before the average temperature increases 1 degree and long before the coal and oil are gone.
It doesn't take 4 million dollars or a professor to see that.

MtMadeMan
MtMadeMan

Greengirl;

We have a much more important problem. I think they should explain how global is causing devastation in South America with millions of fish dying and hundreds of people.

http://articles.cnn.com/2010-07-19/world/latin.america.weather_1_amazon-region-cold-front-coldest-weather?_s=PM:WORLD

http://www.uncoverage.net/2010/07/killer-cold-winter-in-south-america-80-dead-so-far/

http://en.trend.az/regions/world/ocountries/1723309.html

http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/07/26/cold-weather-proves-killer-in-parts-of-south-america/

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100827/full/news.2010.437.html

http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0830-hance_cold_bolivia.html

After all winter is just around the corner.

F-22

Manipulating the weather is nothing new, do the research------do we really know the impacts of manipulating the weather.......or is it "global warming"?

http://www.weathermodification.org/related_sites.htm

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_seeding

GivePeaceAChance

More articles on the bafoonery of "climate change" experts:

"If this keeps up, no one's going to trust any scientists.

The global-warming establishment took a body blow this week, as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received a stunning rebuke from a top-notch independent investigation.

For two decades, the IPCC has spearheaded efforts to convince the world's governments that man-made carbon emissions pose a threat to the global temperature equilibrium -- and to civilization itself. IPCC reports, collated from the work of hundreds of climate scientists and bureaucrats, are widely cited as evidence for the urgent need for drastic action to "save the planet."


Pachauri: UN big scored great grants for silly science.
But the prestigious InterAcademy Council, an independent association of "the best scientists and engineers worldwide" (as the group's own Web site puts it) formed in 2000 to give "high-quality advice to international bodies," has finished a thorough review of IPCC practices -- and found them badly wanting.

For example, the IPCC's much-vaunted Fourth Assessment Report claimed in 2007 that Himalayan glaciers were rapidly melting, and would possibly be gone by the year 2035. The claim was actually false -- yet the IPCC cited it as proof of man-made global warming"

Here is the link:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/meltdown_of_the_climate_consensus_G0kWdclUvwhVr6DYH6A4uJ

Outraged

It is pretty simple.

-Eliminate the Forest Circus and intelligently manage our God-given resources, like we are called to do, instead of hording them. Once upon a time, the forest belonged to the people, not the govt.

-Build roads, re-open access to restricted areas and allow planned and responsible logging, thereby reducing the fuels that feed the fires and creating fire breaks.

-Wake up and get over the farce of global warming/climate change/blah, blah, blah/ whatever they are calling it THIS WEEK! How arrogant; no one can predict or affect the global changes that will occur on this earth.

. . . Imagine the effects this could have on our economy and unemployment. Stop wasting our taxpayer dollars and let us get to work!

WalleyeHunter

So this is where the old cranky guys go when Ruch Limbaugh is off the air

Hermas

Wow. $3.85 million to research how a changing climate will influence wildfires.

I can provide the data, for only $1 million: When it gets hotter and drier, we will have more wildfires.

To whom do I submit my invoice? Nice work if you can get it.

GreenGirl02

Baffling. So now I remember why I should not read any of these posts. Walleye nailed it... this is where the Rush Limbaugh worshippers and the Sara Palin fan club goes when they feel the need to "educate" eachother. I always show respect to others, regardless of their opinions or beliefs... but never do I get the same respect in return. It is sad. But I will keep my pride in being TACTFUL to others, even when they lash out. That's being a good person, I don't care who you are. More people should try it.

Outraged

Walleye Fishing...Before, during, and after the show:)

4fishing
4fishing

montana citris growers support global warming!!!

MtMadeMan
MtMadeMan

WalleyeHunter wrote; "So this is where the old cranky guys go when Ruch Limbaugh is off the air"

So you posted here and you can't spell 'Rush' so therefor you are a old cranky guy who can't spell to well.

remybon

hey warmer isnt always dryer, there are plenty of hot rain forest out there. global warming is old hat, global climate change is more current. maybe this study will show montana getting wetter and less chances for forest fires. not really sure what conclusions they will get from this study, but im not against trying to learn how our environment is changing and how we should live and adapt with it.

GreenGirl02

I agree with you 100% remybon.

WalleyeHunter

[quote]MtMadeMan said: "WalleyeHunter wrote; "So this is where the old cranky guys go when Ruch Limbaugh is off the air"So you posted here and you can't spell 'Rush' so therefor you are a old cranky guy who can't spell to well."[/quote]

Actually, it's because I hit the wrong key, "MadeMan." Simple as that. Apparently you aren't as made as you'd like us to think if it is after 9am on a weekday and you are out browsing the internet instead of working and paying taxes like the rest of us.

WalleyeHunter

[quote]MtMadeMan said: "WalleyeHunter wrote; "So this is where the old cranky guys go when Ruch Limbaugh is off the air"So you posted here and you can't spell 'Rush' so therefor you are a old cranky guy who can't spell to well."[/quote]

Oh, and Mademan... it's actually "can't spell TOO well" and not "can't spell TO well." Do you find any irony in that little critique you tried to make??? Ha ha ha

MtMadeMan
MtMadeMan

Walleyehunter;

So you're just a cranky old man whose fingers don't work TOO well.

My bad. ;^)

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