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Author Topic: 2015 wildfire season  (Read 2023 times)

wili

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2015 wildfire season
« on: July 14, 2015, 02:03:22 AM »
We're already approaching record-breaking territory--nearly 12 million acres in Alaska and Canada so far--and there's plenty more to burn. I couldn't find a thread on this, but there's been a lot going on, and more to come.

The smoke, soot, and ultimately CO2 can have various effects on ice melt, as well, so it seems particularly important to have a thread keeping track of not only the fires, but also their immediate and long term consequences, and the broader contexts...

To kick it off, here's something from the SkS facebook page:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/07/13/2015-is-on-pace-to-be-the-worst-year-on-record-for-alaska-wildfires-heres-why-thats-scary/

The stunning statistic that puts this year’s Alaskan wildfires in perspective

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Every day they update the numbers. And every day, the number of acres burned in Alaska seems to leap higher yet again.

As of Monday, it is at 4,447,182.2 acres, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center — a total that puts the 2015 wildfire season in sixth place overall among worst seasons on record. It’s very likely to move into fifth place by Tuesday — and it’s still just mid-July. There is a long way to go.

According to the Center, 2015 is now well ahead of the rate of burn seen in the worst year ever, 2004, when  6,590,140 acres burned in 701 fires. “Fire acreage totals are more than 14 days ahead of 2004”...

But it isn’t just Alaska — even more acres have burned this year across Canada. As of Sunday, 2,924,503.01 hectares had burned in 4,921 fires — and a hectare is much bigger than an acre. In fact, it’s about 2.47 of them. Thus, some 7,223,522 acres had burned in Canada as of Sunday. In Canada, too, wildfire activity this year is well above average levels.

Overall, the 2015 Canadian and Alaskan fire seasons have seen 11,670,704 acres burned so far, based on these numbers. (Which are always growing larger.) ...

Alaska is 80 percent underlain by permafrost, and Canada is 50 percent underlain by it.

 These frozen soils now have a large number of fires burning atop them, and when permafrost thaws, it can begin to release carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, worsening global warming.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

wili

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Re: 2015 wildfire season
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2015, 03:41:56 AM »
And, as if he read my mind, rs just posted this: https://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/wildfire-smoke-over-north-pole-web-cam-shows-melt-ponds-beneath-dark-haze/

Wildfire Smoke over North Pole — Web Cam Shows Melt Ponds Beneath Brown Carbon Haze

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For Alaska and Canada, as of today, an unprecedented 12,000,000 acres of forest and tundra overlying the rapidly thawing and human greenhouse gas emissions warmed permafrost has burned — going up in vast, billowing clouds of smoke. This smoke has spread out, caught up in the meandering Jet Stream, and is now visible in far-flung locations by both ground and satellite observation.

In addition to painting skies across Canada, Alaska and the Western and Central US milky white, upper level smoke from the fires has crossed Greenland and the North Atlantic, entered the Central Arctic Ocean and is now visible as a hazy pall over web cameras observing North Pole melt...

Conditions in Context — Brown Carbon at Jet Stream Level is an Amplifying Feedback

Lofting large amounts of brown carbon into the Jet Stream level of the atmosphere is an amplifying feedback to human-caused warming. One occurring in addition to the added rate of carbon release generated by these wildfires as well as to a transient negative feedback coming from generating thick, low level clouds, that block out sunlight.

High level clouds alone aid in the heating of the Earth — allowing visible sunlight to penetrate while trapping long rave radiation rebounding from the Earth’s surface. Painting these clouds dark through brown carbon smoke particulate emission into the upper atmosphere provides an added heat kick by further lowering cloud albedo and by re-radiating an overall greater portion of the transient heat. As a final insult, the brown carbon aloft eventually precipitates down to the surface. When such precipitation lands on ice sheets and northern hemisphere snow cover, it darkens the snow and enhances melt. A kind of ominous global warming fallout.

Smokey haze over North Pole melt ponds — one albedo reducing process being reinforced by the other.

« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 03:47:16 AM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Tor Bejnar

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Re: 2015 wildfire season
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2015, 03:58:03 AM »
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

wili

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Re: 2015 wildfire season
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2015, 04:03:03 AM »
D'oh!

Mods, please feel free to merge.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Neven

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Re: 2015 wildfire season
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2015, 09:40:57 AM »
Thanks, Tor. WIli, I've moved your opening comment to the Arctic Wildfire thread.
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