A recent study claims that climate change is making wildfires worse. The result of climate change, increasingly dry and hot climates, have resulted in much worse wildfires all over the world, claims the new research.
Wildfires also intensify climate change as they kill the trees that are able to absorb the atmosphere’s carbon. The new research discovered that the fire season is a lot longer for over a quarter of the vegetated surface on Earth from the year 1979 to 2013. All over the planet, the fire weather season grew by almost 19 percent. This trend happened on all of the continents where these kinds of wildfires happen, except for Australia.
The authors of the study said that wildfires happen at the intersection of ignition sources, available fuel and dry weather. They also added that weather is the biggest driver of burned areas and the most variable.
The study claims that South America experienced the most drastic increases in intensity and numbers of wildfires. The forests in this area have faced an increase in the fire season by 33 days on average. Fires worsen deforestation which has destroyed a lot of the forest land in the area already.
The authors said that on top of losing forests, wildfires that are caused by the change in climate also develop a feedback loop. Fires in forests reduce the number of trees which could be able to absorb the carbon, which can cause the change in climate in the first place. The authors wrote that when the fire weather seasons happen for a longer period than normal or when they impact more burnable areas, global carbon uptake is lowered.
Matt Jolly, a researcher working for the United States Forest Service’s Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula and the co-author of the study said that they were able of creating a model of conditions for fire weather and the places where this might happen. The model helped the scientists understand the trends that could influence wildfires across Earth.
The study showed that there’s a connection between the behavior of wildfires and the change in climate. The researchers said that climate change can expand the seasons described as fire-friendly, and wildfires can last longer and be more aggressive. Wildfires are also responsible of making Earth warmer and creating fire-friendly conditions.
The study was published in the Nature Communications journal on July 14 and it is a great view on the global trends which influence the seasons of wildfire.
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