Warmer and drier conditions in coming decades will likely cause the burned area from wildfires in the U.S. to double in size by 2050, according to new research based on satellite observations and computer modeling experiments. The research, which was first presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on Dec. 4, provides insight into both recent wildfire trends and the sharp increase in dryness — and therefore wildfire susceptibility — in certain regions of the country.
The 2012 U.S. wildfire season was one of the worst on record, with massive fires affecting Colorado and New Mexico, in particular. The new research suggests that high wildfire years, such as 2012, would likely occur 2-to-4 times per decade by 2050, rather than once per decade as they do now.
A California utility said Thursday it has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of potential sabotage, possibly by an employee, of a crucial piece of safety equipment attached to one of its nuclear power reactors.
Ed Brown recalls the “funny taste” of Darth Vader’s legs. He also remembers how it never stopped him from chewing more teeth marks into his Star Wars action figure.
“I still wish I was 5 years old,” said Brown. “Playing with my little Transformers or GI Joe guys, not once did I ever think about what those things were made out of — the paint on them, or the plastic they were made out of, or the stickers on the sides of them… My parents, I’m sure they didn’t think about it either.”
Three decades later, and now a parent himself, Brown thinks about those things.
Like a growing number of moms and dads, he thinks about not only what toxic chemicals might lace his kids’ toys, but also what could contaminate school supplies,Halloween costumes, mattresses, paints, cleaners and shampoos.
Such thoughts can be overwhelming.
An estimated 26.9 trillion pounds of some 84,000 different chemicals are produced in or imported into the U.S. every year. That’s about 250 pounds of synthetic substances per U.S. resident, per day, with the potential consequences of exposures to those chemicals going beyond the individual. Researchers have calculated the cost of virtually unregulated chemical use at nearly $80 billion in annual health care costs, lost working hours and stolen IQ points. And such studies are far from comprehensive.
(This story originally appeared in the Huffington. magazine iPad app.)
And now, we connect the dots.
Dun dun DUNNNNNN.