Canadian wildfire smoke may return to NYC as 'a new norm,' experts say.  

Wavy Line

Climate experts warn Gothamist that Canadian wildfire smoke will return this summer.  

The worst fire season in Canada's history burned 45.5 million acres, the size of North Dakota.  

New York City was suffocated by smoke for three days in June, one in July, and again in October. As particulate matter pollution rose, asthma-related emergency department visits increased by more than 40% per day during the June smoke crisis in New York.  

Climate change would increase the frequency of choking gasses, according to experts.  

“Canadian wildfire smoke is now normal. Mark Wysocki, Cornell University professor and former New York State climatologist, claimed this is real. “We must change our mindset. Since air quality alarms will be more frequent, we'll have to adjust.”  

Most of Canada is droughty. Last winter was the warmest in Great White North history. Many wildfires from last year continue. Experts in Canada expect another long and deadly fire season.  

“The warmer it gets, the more lightning we see and the atmosphere gets more efficient at sucking moisture out of that dead vegetation in the forest floor,” said Thompson Rivers University emergency management and fire science scholar Mike Flannigan.  

Much depends on rain, and most models predict a dry Canadian summer.  

That implies more fuel—burnable vegetation. Flannigan stated that this causes high-intensity fires that are uncontrollable. He said that last year's Canadian fires were 2.5 times worse than usual. Due to Canadian wildfires, the northern Midwest has poor air quality. Earlier this week, Kansas City recorded the worst US air quality.  

Harvard University senior research fellow in chemistry-climate interactions Loretta Mickley said the recent wet spring may affect Canada's wildfire season. The spring rains may encourage growth that will dry out and start a fire, she said.  

Mickley predicts Quebec fire activity to treble by 2050. "This would increase the risk of large smoke events in the East," she said. We are downwind of those [Quebec] fires and can expect more in the future.”

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