Video Credit: Daily Caller/C-SPAN – click for video
By WUWT Regular Just The Facts
First, I’m sure I speak for everyone at WUWT when I say that our hearts go out to all the families in Oklahoma affected by the weather tragedy there today.
In the video above US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse states that:
“When cyclones tear up Oklahoma and hurricanes swamp Alabama and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover. And the damage that your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas.”
Read more: Daily Caller
If Senator Sheldon Whitehouse did more reading and less ranting, he might know that Continental US Temperature Lower Troposphere (TLT) – 1979 to Present;
is currently below average.
US Strong to Violent Tornadoes (EF3-EF5) – 1950 to 2012;
are below average. US Inflation Adjusted Annual Tornado Trend and Percentile Ranks;
are currently below average. US Tornadoes Daily Count and Running Annual Total;
are currently well below average.
US Extremes in Landfalling Tropical Systems – 1910 to Present – Annual;
are currently below average.
This US Acres Per Wildfire and the Number of Wildfires Per Year graph;
shows that the number of wildfires have decreased, while the acres per fire have increased.
This is an important distinction as the associated article elaborates:
This graph shows the inverse relationship between numbers and sizes of US wildfires over time. Note the greater number and smaller sizes of fires between the creation of Wilderness in 1964 and the beginning of the modern wildfire era in 1987 and 1988 (with Silver Complex and Yellowstone fires of those years), as compared with the smaller number and greater size of recent fires. One factor may be the shift in USFS policy from rapid suppression to “let it burn,” which has allowed for numerous smaller fires – previously extinguished individually — to coalesce into larger fires and singular complexes.Evergreen
“Forest managers agree that the current fire risk is primarily a combination of two factors — higher-than-average temperatures and a profusion of fuel, the product of nearly a century of fire suppression policies.”
“Recognizing widespread overgrowth in American forests, in the late 1970s the Forest Service began reintroducing policies of prescribed burning and allowed many smaller, natural fires to burn out on their own, provided they didn’t threaten lives or property. The decision this summer to attack all fires, while not a direct reversal of this policy, does represent a departure from that practice of natural restoration, said Jennifer Jones, a public affairs specialist with the Forest Service. Scientific America
The shift in thinking was formalized in a 1995 statement of federal fire policy, and strengthened in a 2001 revision. The policy recognizes that fire is “an essential ecological process,” and that decades of trying to keep fires from burning have led, ironically, to “larger and more severe” conflagrations because of the buildup of underbrush and other fuel. USA Today
As such, US Forest Fire data is biased by “nearly a century of fire suppression policies” and “the shift in USFS policy from rapid suppression to ‘let it burn,’”, which begin “in the late 1970s”, “was formalized in a 1995 statement of federal fire policy, and strengthened in a 2001 revision.” Furthermore, given that continental US Temperatures are currently below average, it is absurd to blame to recent forest fire activity on Global Warming.
US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse used the tragic weather events in Oklahoma to spout erroneous alarmist Global Warming rhetoric. Mr Sheldon, less ranting, more reading…
Hat Tip to WUWT Reader “007″
Anthony: Unfortunately, there is shameful precedence for this sort of opportunistic political rhetoric, WUWT readers may recall when the Center for American progress blamed southern conservatives voting record for tornadoes:
This might be a good time to remind readers of this essay: