BERKELEY (KPIX) – If it seems like California’s wildfires and weather are becoming more extreme, climate experts say they are, and, in fact, it’s going to get worse. The orange and dark skies over the Bay Area may be a ominous sign of what will be in our future.
Professors at the University of Berkeley say fires and intense heat have always been a part of California’s identity but what’s alarming them the most is the rate at which these cases are occurring.
They point to the wildfires that have ravaged California, burning up a record of more than two million acres. All the smoke from California’s fires has been trapped thousands of feet high up in our atmosphere, creating a gloomy orange glow over much of the Bay Area. UC Berkeley professor Max Auffhammer has a grim prediction for the future.
“It’s going to change the way we go about living our lives. This is the new normal,” says Auffhammer.
Climate change experts say they look at the frequency of events and science have seen this coming for a while.
“Unfortunately we can expect more of the same. That is absolutely clear because all the science is very consistent that these are the kinds of events that have been predicted for decades and all of the signs point to more of the same,” says Dave Ackerly, Dean of Rausser College at UC Berkeley.
For example, an extremely rare triple digit day in San Francisco which just happened a few days ago, could become the city’s the new average.
“Going forward, the 100 degree days will occur 20 days a summer or 30,” says Auffhammer. “Or by the end of the century, some models predict the whole summer will look like this.”
The researchers at the UC Berkeley are working to try to change the course of the future, conducting forest management and creating innovative policy to battle climate change.