Science & Technology

Climate change is causing catastrophic power line fires – so watt up?

Guest essay by Eric Waral

h / t Dr. Willy Soon; According to Julia Simon of NPR, climate change is killing all the trees overhanging power lines that utilities thought were safe to ignore.

Climate change is killing trees and causing power outages

20215: 00 September 21, AMET
Julia Simon

On a hill in Oakland, California, Igor Lacan looks out from under the hat of Stetson in the neighborhood below and begins listing trees.

“From maple to birch, plums and liquid amber,” says Lacan, a horticultural adviser to the University of California’s collaborative expansion. “Sugi. If you can see the palm, here is the monkey puzzle!”

Between the trees, there is a network of intersecting power lines that supply electricity to the house below. Lacan advises California utilities such as Pacific Gas and Electric, and while most trees appear to be thriving, he says, it doesn’t apply to nearby acacias. He points upwards on a swirl of dead bark hanging on an acacia branch.

according to Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Opportunistic Fungi Killing these trees. California climate change droughtHas survived for most of the 20 years, stressing trees and making them vulnerable to parasites.

According to more than 12 of the country’s largest power companies, branches and trees falling on power lines are the main cause of power outages. Some utilities say that due to climate change-related factors, trees die faster than they can reach in a normal trimming cycle.

Nina BasqueA professor of urban horticulture at Cornell University explains that climate change can kill tree cells through stressor confluences. “It’s not like an animal that dies when it pierces the heart. Trees die cell by cell,” she says.

Gardeners like Lacan say the solution is not to plant fewer trees, as climate change leads to more tree mortality and more power outages. Planting a variety of trees to withstand drought and hot climates. In addition, a shorter tree, he adds. “There are some short tree species that work very well under these distribution lines.”

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In Australia, where all our tall eucalyptus trees are flammable fuel vapor bombs, we need to keep our power lines away from the trees because our trees don’t have to be dead to cause a big fire. Much effort has been made. The interesting part of making sure there is no vegetation next to the power line is that it works. Even in climate change, dead branches and trees will not shut down power and cause a fire if there are no dead branches or trees close enough to collapse. lines.

Climate change is causing catastrophic power line fires – so watt up? Climate change is causing catastrophic power line fires – so watt up?

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