While no one
can ascribe specific natural catastrophic events to global warming,
their frequency appears to have increased. So it is that forest fire
seasons have lengthened, and more fires occur more often and of greater
The current disaster in the news is in the Iberian peninsula and across to southwest France. Almost uncontrollable wildfires have devastated thousands of acres, and one observer pilot flying too close has been killed reports the BBC. The fires in La Teste-de-Buch and south of Bordeaux have destroyed 25,000 acres.
In Portugal, 75,000 acres have been devastated by fires this year. One cause is the dry heat and soaring temperatures, drying out the countryside. They have hit 47C (117F) in Portugal and above 40C (104F) in Spain. Residents have been evacuated from the danger areas and a pet- rescue operation is ongoing.
Planes are dropping fire-retardant chemicals, and helicopters collect sea water from the coast then return to douse the flames. The high temperatures, the drought and their consequences have not spared neighboring countries.
In Italy, the country's longest river, the Po, has diminished to a trickle in places and the tinder-dried countryside in its valley is under a state of emergency.
other parts of the Mediterranean, the conditions are similar. In
Greece, there are fires southeast of Athens about 30 miles away in
Feriza; also on the northern coast in the island of Crete where seven
villages near Rethymno have been evacuated.
opposite side of the Mediterranean has not been spared. Fires swept
through several provinces in Morocco and one village in the Ksar
el-Kebir area was destroyed.
to James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis, the earth should respond naturally
to ameliorate global warming. Unfortunately, human interventions like
cutting down forests have damaged its ability to do so. Is runaway
global warming then our future?
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