What with space photographs by astronauts, the always-present questions about the role of climate change, ongoing convulsion and revision in America's western landscape, plus wildlife ecology aspects, the colossal wildfires in Colorado can easily be fitted in to the science beat. But what prompts a post is this photo from Reuters's wire with credit to the US Air Force's p.r. people at its academy. Is that real? It looks sculptural, or like an architect's rendition. What chance such convergence of parallel lineaments in the smoke-filled sky, walkway, and the campus chapel? For higher res, click it or go here. The perfectly distributed, silhouetted cadets and officers all walking away from the distant blaze? Not just one but two guys twisted, looking back? The low sun and long shadows? Some photogger must have near wet his or her pants when this sci-fi-noir pulp novel cover composition confirmed itself in the slide show of what must have been many shots. Hmm. Wonder how much fiddling with contrast, mid-tones, and saturation followed? Amazing in any case.
- Reuters - Keith Coffman: Worst wildfire ever in Colorado claims first victim ; Where photo ran.
- Reuters - Deborah Zabarneko, Laura Zuckerman : West's wildfires a preview of changed climate: scientists ;
- Colorado Independent - David O. Williams: Public policies must change dramatically in aftermath of wildfires, experts warn ; In lede: "...the state's residents will continue to pay a higher and higher rice for forests that are dying due to global climate change."
- NYTimes Green Blog - Kate Yandell: Pondering a Link between Forest Fires and Climate Change There's a new report out, we learn here, on why events like this are becoming more likely. One would have preferred that a line here about beetles leaving forests "full of dry, dead trees" had another line following, recognizing that some studies say a beetle-ravaged forest may look like tinder, but may be less flammable. The foliage drops and the trees lose the flammable oils or pitch that feeds major blazes. Here's one story on that. Dry branches light easier, the green stuff may burn hotter and longer once it's going.
- Coloradoan - Bobby Magill: Climate change no clear culprit for weather extremes ; Nice job - does have source say clearly that climate change ups the odds for such weeks like this. But here's a problem. One climatologist says "the current extreme conditions in Colorado can't necessarily be attributed to climate change," which I get but ask: what does it mean exactly? If one were to successfully seed a storm front and the rain got more intense, would one declare There are more raindrops, sure, but it is hard to say which of these raindrops are from seeding and which ones would have been there anyway? Maybe the very one that just hit my ear was a regular one that would occurred without our help, but the one on my nose was an extra, from the enucleation agent we just strew? Don't think so. Same with trying to say over there is a global warming storm, but right here we got one that was already on nature's schedule.
- LiveScience - Stephanie Pappas: Is Global Warming Fueling Colorado Wildfires? ; Same comment goes here as for previous story.
- Climate Central - Andrew Freedman: Colorado Wildfires Explained in One Chart ; It's about proximate factors - - snowpack and melt season - not some uber-causative such as global warming.
- Mother Jones- Tim McDonnell: What's Happening with the Colorado Wildfires Explained ; Info packed, scattershot, and long, plus many photos and other illus.
- Charlie Petit