Posts Tagged ‘Wildfire’

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

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

Global warming to carry big costs for California

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

From agricultural losses to devastating wildfires, California’s economy is expected to see significant costs resulting from global warming in the decades ahead.

California’s economy could suffer annual losses between $2.5 billion and $15 billion by 2050. Property damage due to wildfires and sea level rise are estimated to cause $100 billion worth of losses by 2100. Wildfire property damage could cost between $200 million and $42 billion a year (worst case scenario).

In 2008, California spent $1 billion fighting wildfires. End of century costs could amount to $14 billion annually to $45 billion in 2085.

Source: Global warming to carry big costs for California – USA Today

Date: 12 March 2009

Climate change wreaks havoc with the world’s weather patterns

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

As a result of climate change, extreme events such as severe winter storms, downpours, heat waves, large hail storms, tornadoes, wildfires, and unconventional catastrophes like ice storms will increase in frequency and length.

El Niño impacts are far-reaching, affecting temperature and precipitation as well as generating extreme weather events worldwide. The 1997-98 El Niño has been implicated in many disasters, while the 1998 La Niña followed up with her own, including floods in Bangladesh and China which displaced 230 million people.

“It is also possible that climate change will entail a shift to an entirely different circulation pattern in the Pacific, away from the El Niño/La Niña cycle as we’ve known it historically. The consequences of such a profound and sudden change are currently unpredictable, but would certainly wreak havoc with the world’s weather patterns.” – from David Suzuki Foundation

Source: Impacts: Extreme Weather: El Nino – David Suzuki Foundation

Date: NA

Source: Impacts: Extreme Weather – David Suzuki Foundation

Date: NA

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

Many parts of US face large-scale impacts from climate change related droughts

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

A comprehensive report by government officials and scientists found that every U.S. region faces large-scale impacts from climate change. The Southwest region of the U.S. will have water scarcity due to reduction in spring precipitation and growing population. There will be more droughts and wildfires affecting agriculture and threatening property and forests. The Northwest region will also face water supply shortage due to less snowmelt during spring. Ecosystems will suffer from wildfires. The Great Plains and Midwest also face reduced water levels. The Southeast will become hotter with heat waves and related health issues as well as more water shortages. The Northeast will experience more heat waves with 20-30 days above 100 Fahrenheit every summer. Crops like apples, blueberries, cranberries and syrup will be almost impossible to grow.

Source: New report predicts dire consequences for every U.S. region from global warming – Monga Bay

Date: June 17, 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

Fire can change the climate quickly with large emissions of CO2 and other pollutants such as black carbon

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

These warnings come from an international team of fire specialists from six nations. One of them, Thomas Swetnam of the University of Arizona in Tucson said “We’ll be seeing more and longer droughts, and with more hot and dry years, we’ll be seeing still more and larger fires.” California’s fire in 2008 wiped out 380,310 acres. In 2009, California is dealing with their 3rd year of serious drought.

Source: Wildfires add to speed of global warming – San Francisco Chronicle

Date: 24 April 2009

The effects of climate change exacerbated the ferocity of 2009 forest fires in Australia

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Eucalyptus forest and farms in south-eastern Australia are getting warmer, drier and more prone to fire due to global warming. Tens of thousands of wildfires blaze every season, with climate change exacerbating their intensity.

Source: Australia Wildfires Caused Partly By Global Warming, Says Expert – Huffington Post

Date: 10 February 2009

Results 1-10 of overall 10
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Reversing Meat-Eating Culture to Combat Climate Change

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Livestock Production and Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers

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Plant-Based Diets - A solution to our public health crisis

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Leaders Preserving Our Future - Insights Paper - WPF - November 2010

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Maintaining a Climate of Life - Summary Report

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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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