About 450 years ago, the North Atlantic Ocean was found to be going through periodic warming. And it was during these time, extended periods of major wildfires occurred in the West. This finding has led scientists conclude that there lies a link between forest fires and ocean temperatures. To make the study, the scientists have used fire scars on nearly 5,000 tree stumps dating back 450 years.
Scientists’ long having seeing a relationship between weather in the United States and El Nino — a warming of water in the South Pacific – this finding perhaps confirmed and supported the theory.
Supporting the study, Dan Cayan, climate researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who did not take part in the study said,
This study and others have demonstrated that there is an underlying climatic influence on fuels and then on the weather conditions that promote fires.
Having been developed models to predict wildfire danger based on climate models, Ron Neilson, a U.S. Forest Service scientist also agreed with the study’s conclusions. He noted,
All the oceans are affected by global warming. And that in turn could exacerbate the wildfire cycle.
Thus, it is not just the tropical Pacific — home to El Nino, an ocean warming condition – that participate in global climate. The Atlantic also seems to have some influence on the climate on longer time scales!