Credits: NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey
Spiegel science journalist Axel Bojanowski here decided to investigate this a bit more closely, and found that the data supporting such claims are “paltry” and that the claim itself is mostly “a myth”. He points out that the same is true with all the other recently alleged climate change-caused disasters, such as 5 Pacific islands sinking, the Syria conflict, hurricanes, etc.
In fact the practice of blaming climate change for natural disasters has been so widespread that Bojanowski, a geologist, now terms it “a ritual”.
Main cause: El Niño induced weather
The Spiegel journalist writes that the reason behind the fires was mainly an unusual, high latitude low which elevated temperatures 17°C above the mean and brought with it high winds which acted to fan the flames. The dry conditions leading up to a forest fire outbreak, Bojanowski reports, were due to the El Niño which disrupted global weather patterns.
Bojanowski next provides a chart depicting Canada forest fire activity over the past 25 years. The trend: no real increase in forest fire activity. If anything the overall trend for the number of fires is slightly downward. Though the area of the fires have jumped, Bojanowski suspects this may have something to do with more industry taking place in forests. Here he also cites results from Russian scientists.
Bojanowki makes other points:
- The IPCC sees no increased drought in Canada.
- Models said wet regions were in fact supposed to get wetter.
On the claims climate change was to blame for the devastating forest fires in Canada, he concludes that “there isn’t any evidence for this claim“.