Archive for ‘Wildfires’

12

Heat wave causes numerous wild fires in central Mongolia

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Wild fires have raged across central Mongolia due to the ongoing hot, dry weather, fire officials said Tuesday.

The fires occurred in Selenge and Tov provinces, have killed three people and injured six others and destroyed 936 livestock caused about 910 million Tugrig (about 0.67 million U.S. dollars) in damages.

An extreme heat wave has baked many areas of Mongolia in recent weeks with the temperature reaching 41 degrees Celsius in some locations.

Authorities have barred people from traveling to areas with extreme dry conditions and have asked for all-round support in helping firefighters battle the blazes.

Source: Heat wave causes numerous wild fires in central Mongolia – news.xinhuanet.com

Date: 06 July 2010

Geoscientists call for reducing soot emissions

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

More aggressive action is required to reduce soot emissions in a bid to achieve climate policy goals such as those set forth in last December’s Copenhagen Accord, says a study.

The Princeton University researchers assessed the climatic contribution of ‘carbonaceous aerosols,’ fine particulates emitted into the air, known as soot.

Soot is a term that refers to the impure carbon particles produced by the incomplete combustion of organic matter and comes from diesel engines and coal combustion to biomass cook stoves, crop burning and wildfires.

Soot has complex effects on the global climate when airborne or deposited on snow. It has two main components: black carbon and organic carbon.

Black carbon is dark and absorbs radiation, thus warming the atmosphere; organic carbon is light coloured and reflective, so tends to have a cooling effect.

Their effects on climate are complicated, in part because they depend on how they are mixed with other particles in the atmosphere, and in part because both types of aerosols can cool the climate through their effects on cloud formation.

Black carbon also warms the Earth’s surface when it falls on snow or ice.

‘Because of uncertainties in these many effects and because of differences in whether and how these effects get incorporated into various models, past studies of soot’s contribution to global warming have ranged widely,’ said Robert Kopp, post-doctoral researcher jointly in Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs and its Department of Geosciences.

‘We took several key studies, put them all on a common footing, and assessed what emerged,’ Kopp said.

Using four sets of highly cited but disparate studies that span the range of past estimates, Kopp and Denise Mauzerall, associate professor of environmental engineering and international affairs at Princeton, attempted to reconcile and standardise the results into one, common global metric.

‘Unfortunately, most climate change mitigation scenarios used in policy contexts have focused exclusively on heat-trapping gases,’ Mauzerall said, according to a university release.

These findings were published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Geoscientists call for reducing soot emissions - southkoreanews.net

Date: 26 June 2010

Forest fires flare north of Montreal

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Some 200 firefighters were dispatched to Quebec’s outback to combat a dozen forest fires raging in the Haute-Mauricie region 400 kilometers (249 miles) north of Montreal, a provincial agency announced Thursday.

Thick smoke swept over the Wemotaci native reserve (reservation in US), forcing more than 1,000 to evacuate their homes. The village, however, was not threatened by flames and no one was injured.

Four of the fires, some of them sparked by lightning, were out of control in exceptionally dry forests after a record heat wave in recent days, Marie-Louise Harvey, spokeswoman for Quebec’s forest fire fighting agency, Sopfeu, told public broadcaster Radio-Canada.

Firefighters on the ground were being supported by airplane and helicopter water bombers, she said.

Due to the dry conditions, authorities forbid lighting of camp fires throughout most of the province.

Source: Forest fires flare north of Montreal - Khaleej Times

Date: 27 May 2010

Glacier park turns 100, but age has not been kind

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

The gorgeous million-acre park in northwestern Montana celebrated its 100th birthday on Tuesday. But many of its glaciers have melted, and scientists predict the rest may not last another decade.

The forests are drier and disease-ridden, leading to bigger wildfires. Climate change is forcing animals that feed off plants to adapt.

Many experts consider Glacier Park a harbinger of Earth’s future, a laboratory where changes in the environment will likely show up first.

The change is visible to the naked eye, with the vast moraines left behind as the giant glaciers melt away. Climate change is blamed for the increasing size and frequency of wildfires, and lower stream flows as summer progresses.

Fagre said that based on geologic evidence, the park had about 150 glaciers in 1850, the end of the so-called Little Ice Age. Most would have still been around when the park was established in 1910.

Only about 25 named glaciers are left, and they could be gone by 2020, Fagre said.

Rising temperatures also mean spring is arriving about three weeks early, which causes winter snow to melt earlier and forests to become drier as the summer progresses, said Jack Potter, chief of science at the park.

That has led to bigger and more destructive fires, in part because insect infestations have weakened trees, Potter said. There are now fires at higher elevations, too, because the tree line is moving higher as temperatures rise, he said.

Less moisture means lower stream flows, which endanger fish species, he said. The vegetation is changing, providing less food and protective cover for animals.

Source: Glacier park turns 100, but age has not been kind - The Spokeman Review

Date: 11 May 2010

The European heat-wave of 2003 caused damages of $15 billion in the farming, livestock and forestry industry from the effects of drought, heat stress and fire

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Over a three-month period in the summer of 2003, Europe experienced exceptionally high temperatures, on average 2.3°C hotter than the long-term average.

The European heat-wave of 2003 caused the death of 35,000 people and damages of $15 billion in the farming, livestock and forestry industry from the effects of drought, heat stress and fire.

More than 25,000 fires were recorded in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Finland, Denmark and Ireland. The estimation of forest areas destroyed reached 647,069 hectares. Portugal was the worst hit with 390,146ha burned, destroying around 5.6 % of its forest area. Spain came second with 127,525ha burned. The agricultural area burned reached 44,123ha plus 8,973ha of unoccupied land, and 1,700ha of inhabited areas.”

Source: Stern Review final report – Chapter 5 – Cost of Climate Change in Developed Countries – HM Treasury

Date: 2006

Source: Impacts of Summer 2003 Heat Wave in Europe (PDF) – UNEP

Date: NA

Number One Source of Black Carbon: Forest and Savannah Burning

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

The greatest source of black carbon emissions is forest and savannah burning, much of which is for land clearing for livestock. A study led by Dr. Tami Bond of the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign and published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles estimates the sources of black carbon emissions to be:

  • 42% Open biomass burning (forest and savannah burning)
  • 18% Residential biofuel burned with traditional technologies
  • 14% Diesel engines for transportation
  • 10% Diesel engines for industrial use
  • 10% Industrial processes and power generation, usually from smaller boilers
  • 6% Residential coal burned with traditional technologies

Omitting livestock form the picture would give a significantly reduced figure for forest and savannah fires (open biomass burning), substantially reducing the amount (and therefore effect) of black carbon globally.

Source: Historical emissions of black and organic carbon aerosol from energy-related combustion, 1850–2000Trautmann et al. – Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 21, GB2018 Abstract

Date: 30 May 2007

Global warming predicted to make bush fires more frequent in Australia

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Kinglake, Australia: Trees that were destroyed by fire Photograph: Mark Smith/AFP/Getty Images

Global warming is predicted to make bush fires 25%-50% more frequent in Australia.

Models suggest global warming could bring temperature rises as high as 6C for Australia this century, if global emissions continue unabated. The country is undergoing the worst drought in century, stretching for seven years already.

While exceptional hot years used to occur every 22 years, they now occur every 1-2 years making permanent drought a looming reality for Australians.

Source: Bushfires and global warming: is there a link? – The Guardian, UK

Date: 8 February 2009

Over 90 percent of the black carbon emitted by nations in the arctic-region is coming from agriculture, forest or peat fires

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

“Over 90 percent of the black carbon emitted by nations in the Arctic-region (which lie above 40 degrees latitude), comes from agricultural, forest or peat fires”, said Elena Koblets, Director for Development at  Russia-based Bellona Foundation, an international environmental NGO based in Norway, at a UN climate summit side event this week.

When sunlight reaches suspended black carbon particles in the air, it is absorbed as heat, warming the air directly around it. Furthermore, when this sooty residue deposits on snow and ice, it darkens the surface causing the ground to absorb more light as heat and melt at a faster rate than it would otherwise. On a large scale, melt may accelerate the loss of stable water resources in the form of glaciers and snow. It can also cause changes in local ecosystem dynamics with each species responding differently to the changes in snow and ice availability.

Source: New Entrant Black Carbon Finds Little Mention in Copenhagen – Worldwatch Institute

Date: 14 December 2009

Wildfires intensified by drought in 2009

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

In Nepal and Australia, wildfires this year (2009) have been severely intensified by drought conditions.

Source: Nepal Dendrochronology and Climate Change

Date: 28 April 2009

Source: Australia Fires a Climate Wake-up Call: Experts – Common Dreams.org

Date: 11 February 2009

2009 sees the worst of bush fires in Australia since 1983

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

In Victoria, 30 blazes were registered in only 30 hours destroying homes and injuring people. Temperatures of up to 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) were recorded in Melbourne from the combination of flames and heat waves.

Source: Raging Australia bushfires kill at least 35 – CNN.com

Date: February 2009

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Livestock's Climate Impact

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Livestock & Sustainable Food

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Reducing Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers Through Dietary Change

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The global cost of biodiversity loss: 14 trillion Euros? - EU Commission (2008)

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Forests, Fisheries, Agriculture: A Vision for Sustainability (2009)

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