Why are California heat waves, wildfires intensifying? Stanford climate scientist explains

Luz Pena Image
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Scientist explains 'profound implications' of CA climate change
EMBED <>More Videos

The current heatwave and frequency of extreme wildfire weather conditions in California during the autumn season are just glimpse of what lies ahead, according to a Stanford climate scientist.

STANFORD, Calif. (KGO) -- Research by Noah Diffenbaugh, climate scientist and Stanford professor and senior fellow points to California experiencing an increase of warming.

His latest paper on the frequency of the extreme wildfire weather conditions in California during the autumn season found that the current heat wave is just glimpse of what lies ahead.

RELATED: Live tracker shows where wildfires are burning in Bay Area, across California

"Our paper reports about a degree Celsius of warming just in the last four decades. This means we are much more likely to experience severely warm autumn seasons and severe warm spells. This elevates the risk of heat on human health but also the risk of wildfires" said Diffenbaugh.

Diffenbaugh has been tracking this dramatic change of climate in our state for years.

"It actually has profound implications. It has created a different climate for California. It's a climate where we are much likely to experience heat waves and wildfire weather," said Diffenbaugh.

In Castro Valley temperatures hit the triple digits today. Some residents were using their cars as cooling center.

VIDEO: CA passes first-in-nation law requiring minimum recycled content in plastic bottles

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law, the first of its kind in the nation, that will require that plastic beverage containers be made of more recycled material.

"I plug this little fan in my car and it keeps me cool, and I use this sun shade. It has the foil on one side," described Oakland resident, Tanya Sellers.

A dry heat that is prompting fire stations across the Bay Area to prepare for potential wildfires.

"The factors coming in right now, this is the worst case scenario for fire season because we do have triple-digit temperatures as well as low humidity and high temperatures," said Brian Centoni, public information officer for the Alameda County Fire.

RELATED: Glass Fire live updates: Wildfire more than triples in size to 36,000 acres, says CAL FIRE

Across Alameda County multiple fire engines are prepositioned in strategic zones prone to fires.

"They are ready to respond to any type of vegetation fire or any type of calls. They are pre-positioned down in the tri-valley area, out in Dublin and un-incorporated Livermore and Sunol," described Centoni.

With multiple fires burning up north, the main concern across the Bay Area is to not be caught off guard and be ready to evacuate.

As California has warmed over the long term the frequency of severe wildfire weather has double.

Get the latest updates and videos on wildfires burning across the Bay Area here.