Climate change means more wildfires, and that means lots more air pollution


Grist

Wildfires not only jeopardize lives and property. They also cause air pollution — from planet-warming carbon dioxide to health-endangering soot and nitrogen oxides. This pollution can trigger hospital visits. It can also hamper agricultural output, and damage forests and other ecosystems.

This will be a particular problem in California, according to new research published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Scientists analyzed future climate and population scenarios for the state and forecast that air pollution from wildfires in California could increase by between 19 and 101 percent by the end of the century. They found that the worst effects will likely be experienced in Northern California, particularly in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and in the Klamath-Siskiyou region at Oregon’s border.

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