Showing posts with the label Wildfires

Declining Arctic sea ice may increase wildfires in the western US - & Canada?

Nature Declining sea ice in the Arctic may contribute to increased wildfire activity in the western United States, suggests a modelling study published in Nature Communications . The finding demonstrates the influence that human-induced climate change can have on extreme weather events in the region. Wildfires in the western US (& Canada) have become more frequent and severe in recent years. Although there is some evidence that Arctic sea ice declines can influence extreme weather conditions in temperate and subtropical regions, the impact on wildfires has been unclear. Yufei Zou, Hailong Wang and colleagues combined data on wildfire incidence, sea ice concentrations and weather conditions over the past 40 years and conducted model simulations to investigate the relationship between these factors.  The authors identified an association between declining Arctic sea ice concentrations from July to October and the increasing probability of large wildfires in the western US during the

Australian bushfires triggered prolific phytoplankton blooms vast distances away

Nature Bushfire East of Lake Dundas, Western Australia. Photo by Pierre Markuse The 2019–2020 Australian wildfires released more than twice as much CO2 as previously reported on the basis of different fire inventories, reports  a Nature paper.   An independent study  also published in Nature ,  suggests that aerosol emissions from these wildfires are likely to have fuelled vast plankton blooms thousands of kilometres away in the Southern Ocean.  The findings highlight the complex links between wildfires, ecosystems and the climate.  Climate-change-driven droughts and warming play a role in increasing the frequency and intensity of wildfires, which release CO2 into the atmosphere, potentially driving further climate change and increasing the risk of wildfires.  In the summer season of 2019–2020, around 74,000 km2 — an area roughly equivalent to 2.5 times the area of Belgium — burned in the eucalyptus forests in the coastal regions of Victoria and New South Wales, Australia. These wildfi

Deforestation and fires are shrinking Amazonian habitats

Nature  The Amazon - Manaus, Brazil. Photo by  Bruno Kelly The Amazon Basin has a vital role in regulating the Earth’s climate and is home to 10% of all known species. Degradation of the forest threatens the resilience of this ecosystem; around 21–40% of the forest cover is predicted to be lost by 2050, which will have large impacts on Amazonian biodiversity.  To better understand these impacts, Xiao Feng and colleagues investigate how forest fires have been affecting the geographic range of 11,514 plant species and 3,079 animal species over the past two decades.Up to 85% of species listed as threatened in the Amazon may have lost a substantial portion of their habitat owing to deforestation and fires in the past two decades, a study in Nature indicates. It is estimated that for every 10,000 km2 of forest that is burned, about 27–37 additional plant species and about 2 or 3 more vertebrate species that have more than 10% of their range in the Amazon will be affected. As fires move clos


Sierra Club BC   Wildfires devastate Fort MacMurray, Alberta, CA. Satellite photo by NASA. Intact Forests Are Our Biggest Allies Against Worsening Wildfires, But We Are Logging Them To The Brink. Story here.

The role we humans play in the continuing decline of Earth's biosphere knows no boundaries. Sadly - an essential part of human life - food production - remains part of the problem.

by Larry Powell   A thick blanket of smoke again darkens skies over northern India. Every year, farmers light large numbers of small fires between September and December—after the monsoon season—to burn off rice stalks and straw leftover after harvest, a practice known as stubble or paddy burning. (A NASA satellite image.)  Details here. Smoke from burning stubble hovers over a small town in southwestern Manitoba, CA. Nov. 2020. A PinP photo. Canada is no stranger to the same practise. While "stubble-burning" in this country did not approach that of India's (at least not this year), numerous such fires were still common again this fall over the eastern prairies (See above) and in past years (below). Stubble-burning in Manitoba - circa 2005. Photos by PinP. Wildfire smoke (see brown) over the Canadian prairies last year. A NASA photo. Smoke from several large wildfires in Canada (now proven to be more severe, frequent and prolonged thanks to manmade climate change) was so

Siberian heatwave of 2020 'almost impossible' without climate change

world weather attribution Siberian wildfire north of the Arctic Circle. Photo by Pierre Markuse. In the first six months of 2020, Siberia experienced a period of unusually high temperatures, causing wide-scale impacts including wildfires, loss of permafrost, and an invasion of pests. Story here. 

The Arctic is burning in a whole new way

ScienceDaily "Where There's Smoke There's Fire" by Western Arctic National Parklands Widespread wildfires in the far north aren't just bigger; they're different. Details here.

Someday, even wet forests could burn due to climate change

PHYS ORG A wet "sclerophyll" mixed forest. Might even it be vulnerable in a warming world?  Photo by Hagasfagas. Millions of years ago, fire swept across the planet, fuelled by an oxygen-rich atmosphere in which even wet forests burned, according to new research by CU Boulder scientists. Story here.

‘Apocalyptic’ fires are ravaging the world’s largest tropical wetland

 Nature Brazilian Pantanal wildfire - "burn scar" by Coordenação-Geral de Observação da Terra/INPE Infernos in South America’s Pantanal region have burnt twice the area of California’s fires this year. Researchers fear the rare ecosystem will never recover. Story here.

The Arctic is burning like never before — and that’s bad news for climate change

Nature Wildfire smoke at the Arctic Circle.  MIKOFOX ⌘ 2020 Vision Fires are releasing record levels of carbon dioxide, partly because they are burning ancient peatlands that have been a carbon sink. Story here. RELATED: New research finds - global heating is melting vast northern fields of permafrost so fast that - within decades - they'll likely stop cooling the planet as they have for millennia - and start doing just the opposite.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tours Fort MacMurray, site of major spring flooding - fails to see his own handiwork amid the damage. (Opinion)

by Larry Powell K enney was out inspecting the town of Fort MacMurray and region  (above)  this morning, where major flooding has resulted in a mandatory evacuation order going out for the entire downtown area. Big trucks and low-lying buildings are reportedly submerged.  This is the same Premier who "dissed" a reporter recently for daring to ask if this might be the time to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable, sustainable energy. Kenney was especially shocked that the journalist was a member of the Calgary press core, who are apparently all supposed to be cozy little members of the same club, parroting Kenny's anti-science lies about the consequences of continuing to exploit the tar sands.  Fort Mac - 2016. A Creative Commons photo. This is also the same Premier who is spending millions of tax dollars from his own citizens, including desperate, unemployed oil workers, to fund a "war room," spreading mis-information about the consequences of a c

Bushfires damaged Australian rainforest that is home to Earth's only living specimens of ancient species

PHYS ORG Rainforest foliage in Nightcap National Park, NSW Wales, an international heritage site hit hard by the bushfires. Photo by Naught101 Recent wildfires in Australia torched more than 48,000 square miles of land (for context, more than 40 Riding Mountain National Parks). The fires impacted ecologically sensitive regions, including an area called the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Site. This region contains a vast concentration of living plants with fossil records from tens of millions of years ago, according to Peter Wilf. Story here. RELATED: The hand of man shows through once again in another climate catastrophe.

Bush-fire smoke linked to hundreds of deaths

nature Bushfire smoke shrouds the Blue Mountains, as seen from Sydney Harbour Bridge, Dec.,2019. Photo by Sardaka. The first study to estimate health effects from Australia’s extreme fires suggests that several thousand extra people were admitted to hospital. Story here.

Record number of fires rage around Amazon farms that supply the world's biggest butchers

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism The summer’s Amazon fires were three times more common in the areas supplying cattle to abattoirs than elsewhere in the rainforest. Details here.

In the line of fire

Nature Climate Change   The bushfires burning in Australia have led to widespread local and global calls for increased efforts to mitigate climate change. Details here.

This is the age of the megafire – and it’s being fuelled by our leaders

Tim Flannery  for the Guardian Bushfires spire from Yuraygir National Park, Australia. Photo by European Space Agency. In the face of the climate disaster it helped create, the Australian government has given us only lies and denial.   Story here.

Wildfires in Western Canada Created Air Pollution Spikes as Far Away as New York City

Eco Watch Fires around Ft. MacMurray, Alberta, Canada in 2016. Satellite photo by NASA Earth Observatory. New York City  isn't known  for having the cleanest air, but researchers traced recent  air pollution  spikes there to two surprising sources —  fires  hundreds of miles away in Canada and the southeastern U.S. Story here.

Fires scorching Bolivia’s Chiquitano forest

Science magazine Wildfires in the Amazon rainforests of Bolivia. Photo by  List Top 10. The Chiquitano Dry Forest - endemic to Bolivia, highly biodiverse, and considered the world’s best-preserved tropical dry forest -  has lost a staggering 1.4 million hectares to fires since July.  Story here.

Australian blazes will ‘reframe our understanding of bushfire’

Science Magazine Fire on Cape Barren Is. Australia, 2016. Photo by Planet Labs, Inc. Summary Australia is on fire like never before—and this year's "bushfire" season, which typically peaks in January or February, has barely begun. Driven in part by a severe drought, fires have burned 1.65 million hectares in the state of New South Wales, more than the state's total in the previous 3 years combined. Six people have died and more than 500 homes have been destroyed. As  Science  went to press, some 70 uncontrolled fires were burning in adjacent Queensland, and South Australia was bracing for potentially "catastrophic" burns. David Bowman, a fire geographer and director of the Fire Centre Research Hub at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, spoke with  Science  about the unprecedented crisis. The flames have charred even wet ecosystems once thought safe, he says. And the fires have become "white-hot politically," with Prime Minister Sco

Fueling Concerns of Approaching Catastrophic 'Tipping Point,' Deforestation of Brazilian Amazon Hit Highest Level in Decade

Common Dreams Another denizen of the Amazon. Photo by Tom MacKenzie -  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "These figures confirm what we feared, namely that 2019 has been a dark year for the rainforest in Brazil."    Story here.