Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blaming global warming for the California fires

Harry Reid was quick to blame global warming for the fires, although he tried to walk back his comments a bit later. Unfortunately, his words are on tape.
As you know, one reason that we have the fires burning in Southern California is global warming. One reason the Colorado Basin is going dry is because of global warming.
As Duane Patterson writes,
Second, he has no idea what he's talking about. Southern California is a desert. The Santa Ana winds are as normal this time of year as any other local weather phenomenon. In fact, some of the weathermen in the area had speculated on television newscasts in recent weeks that we usually get Santa Anas before now. And in the scope of the severity of the winds, this batch isn't even as bad as we've had. This is a very average wind pattern for us.

Reid may have wanted to blame the fires on global warming before he got called on it and ran away, but I'd be hard pressed to be persuaded that global warming caused arsonists to start several of these fires, or that global warming knocked down a power line in Malibu starting that fire, or that global warming caused a couple of construction workers to work with an arc welder in high winds, showering the local brush with sparks.
Having lived in Los Angeles for five years in the 1980s, I remember quite a few large fires then. Were they also a result of global warming?