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Recent St Louis flooding made worse by human changes to landscape…and more

Fires are increasing in a warming world, but a new model could help us predict them

Over the past decade, the frequency of bushfires in Australia has increased. The Forest Fire Danger Index – which measures the frequency and severity of the weather most conducive to fire – has increased dramatically since the 1970s, and particularly in the 1990s and 2000s. This – along with a great deal of other evidence – indicates that a major change in the climate is looming. In a study published today in Royal Society Open Science, we show that bushfire frequency has increased by 40% over the past five years…

 

Recent St Louis flooding made worse by human changes to landscape

missouri_floods

missouri_floods

Humans put considerable effort into controlling river flood water. We build dams to hold the water back, levees to keep it in the river channel, and floodways to divert it from protected areas if the first two reach their limit. The great irony of levees, though, is that the more of them you build, the more dangerous the river becomes. Whatever volume of water comes down the river has to go somewhere. Wall off part of the river’s natural floodplain, and it will have to take up extra space somewhere else…

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