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Scientists race to reveal how surging wildfire smoke is affecting climate health

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The problem is growing as the size and intensity of wildfires rise in the western United States, marinating communities in smoke. Wildfires account for more than two-thirds of the particulate matter in the West on days that exceed federal clean air standards, according to a 2016 study in the journal Climatic Change. And global warming is likely to stoke even more fire in coming years, by making wildlands more combustible. By midcentury, more than 80 million people living across much of the West can expect a 57% increase in the number of "smoke waves"—events that shroud a community for 2 days or more—according to the 2016 study. The consequences for public health could be sobering; smoke includes an array of noxious compounds and tiny particles that can complicate breathing and promote disease. Other parts of the Americas as well as Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia are likely to experience the same climate-driven surge in wildfires, according to U.S. Forest Service researchers.
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News Source: 
Science Magazine
Date: 
Thursday, May 31, 2018