Authorities attribute the drastic increase in number of forest fires to better tracking. That is why the number seems to increase sharply.
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Sharma said another reason behind marginal rise in the number may be exceptionally dry weather during December and January. Such rains help control dryness in forest. That may be one reason behind some more fires this time," he said. The PCCF wildlife said the forest department had created several fire lines patches clean of foliage so that accidental fires don't cross those lines and had undertaken controlled fires to destroy combustible leaves to avert mishaps.
Environmentalists said all incidents of forest fires are due to human error, sometimes deliberate. Gopal Panda , a professor of geography at Utkal University , said March and April are the months when such incidents go up every year because thick carpets of leaves shed by tress are found lying in forest during this time. Panda said those collecting mahua flowers tend to burn the fallen leaves to have a clean ground to collect the flowers on. Such fires sometimes spread uncontrollably.
During the dryness of spring and summer, people casually dropping their half-lit biri may also lead to fire.
Awareness should be created to address such problems, he added. Environmentalist Biswajit Mohanty said the rising incidences were due to the failure of the forest department to take remedial steps. Storm intensity is closely related to variations in sea surface temperature in the tropical Atlantic. However, changes in observation methods over time make it difficult to know for sure whether a longer-term increase in storm activity has occurred. Changes in the frequency and magnitude of river flood events vary by region.
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Floods have generally become larger across parts of the Northeast and Midwest and smaller in the West, southern Appalachia, and northern Michigan. Large floods have become more frequent across the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, and parts of the northern Great Plains, and less frequent in the Southwest and the Rockies. Average drought conditions across the nation have varied since records began in The s and s saw the most widespread droughts, while the last 50 years have generally been wetter than average.
However, specific trends vary by region. A more focused analysis of drought in recent years shows that between and , roughly 20 to 70 percent of the United States experienced drought at any given time.
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Three independent analyses show that the amount of heat stored in the ocean has increased substantially since the s. Ocean heat content not only determines sea surface temperature, but also affects sea level and currents. Even with some year-to-year variation, the overall increase is clear, and sea surface temperatures have been consistently higher during the past three decades than at any other time since reliable observations began in the late s. The rate of increase has accelerated in recent years to more than an inch per decade.
Changes in sea level relative to the land vary by region. Along the U. Flooding is becoming more frequent along the U. Nearly every site examined has experienced an increase in coastal flooding since the s. The rate is accelerating in many locations along the East and Gulf coasts.
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The Mid-Atlantic region suffers the highest number of coastal flood days and has also experienced the largest increase in frequency over time. The ocean has become more acidic over the past few centuries because of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which dissolves in the water.
Higher acidity affects the balance of minerals in the water, which can make it more difficult for certain marine animals to build their protective skeletons or shells. Part of the Arctic Ocean is covered by ice year-round. The area covered by ice is typically smallest in September, after the summer melting season. The annual minimum extent of Arctic sea ice has decreased over time, and in September it was the smallest ever recorded. Arctic ice has also become thinner, which makes it more vulnerable to further melting.
March sea ice extent reached a new low in and hit roughly the same low again in —about 7 percent less than the — average. Antarctic sea ice extent in September and February has increased somewhat over time. The September maximum extent reached the highest level on record in —about 7 percent larger than the — average. Slight increases in Antarctic sea ice are outweighed by the loss of sea ice in the Arctic during the same time period.
Glaciers in the United States and around the world have generally shrunk since the s, and the rate at which glaciers are melting has accelerated over the last decade. The loss of ice from glaciers has contributed to the observed rise in sea level. Lakes in the northern United States are freezing later and thawing earlier compared with the s and early s. Freeze dates have shifted later at a rate of roughly half a day to one-and-a-half days per decade, while thaw dates for most of the lakes studied have shifted earlier at a rate of half a day to two days per decade. Total snowfall—the amount of snow that falls in a particular location—has decreased in most parts of the country since widespread records began in One reason for this decline is that nearly 80 percent of the locations studied have seen a decrease in the proportion of precipitation falling as snow each winter.
The average portion of North America covered by snow has decreased at a rate of about 3, square miles per year since , based on weekly measurements taken throughout the year. There has been much year-to-year variability, however. In the United States, the snow cover season has become shorter by nearly two weeks on average since By far the largest change has taken place in the spring, with the last day of snow shifting earlier by 19 days. The depth or thickness of snow on the ground snowpack in early spring decreased at more than 90 percent of measurement sites in the western United States between and Across all sites, snowpack depth declined by an average of 23 percent over the last 50 years.
Climate change poses many threats to the health and well-being of Americans. Some of these health impacts are already happening in the United States. Since , more than 9, Americans were reported to have died as a direct result of heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke. The annual death rate is higher when accounting for deaths in which heat was reported as a contributing factor.
From to , a total of about 28, heat-related hospitalizations were recorded across 20 states. Annual heat-related hospitalization rates ranged from fewer than one case per , people in some states to nearly four cases per , in others.
Heating and cooling degree days measure the difference between outdoor temperatures and the temperatures that people find comfortable indoors. As the U. Lyme disease is a bacterial illness spread by ticks that bite humans. Tick habitat and populations are influenced by many factors, including climate.
Nationwide, the rate of reported cases of Lyme disease has approximately doubled since Lyme disease is most common in the Northeast and the upper Midwest, where some states now report 50 to more cases of Lyme disease per , people than they did in West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes, whose habitat and populations are influenced by temperature and water availability, among other factors.
The incidence of West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease in the United States has varied widely from year to year and among geographic regions since tracking began in No obvious long-term trend can be detected using available data. The average length of the growing season for crops in the contiguous 48 states has increased by nearly two weeks since the beginning of the 20 th century. A particularly large and steady increase has occurred over the last 30 years. The observed changes reflect earlier spring warming as well as later arrival of fall frosts.
Warmer temperatures and later fall frosts allow ragweed plants to produce pollen later into the year, potentially prolonging the allergy season for millions of people. The length of ragweed pollen season has increased at 10 out of 11 locations studied in the central United States and Canada since The change becomes more pronounced from south to north.
Since , the United States has had an average of 72, recorded wildfires per year. Of the 10 years with the largest acreage burned, nine have occurred since , with many of the largest increases occurring in western states. The proportion of burned land suffering severe damage each year has ranged from 5 to 21 percent. Changes in temperature, precipitation, snowpack, and glaciers can affect the rate of streamflow and the timing of peak flow. Over the last 75 years, minimum, maximum, and average flows have changed in many parts of the country—some higher, some lower.