Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: Arctic Wildfires  (Read 27839 times)

jdallen

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3024
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 190
  • Likes Given: 172
Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #50 on: August 18, 2015, 07:23:20 AM »
It would be useful to know if there has been a previous correlation between significant NH wildfires and smoke coverage and late minimum in arctic melt....

It will also be interesting to watch this year as it all leads to the end of the season.  Especially for anything which looks odd late season.

What I do wonder is how they are going to look next year if this is just the opening bars of a monster El Nino.  Because, if I remember correctly, we'll see a dry winter with low snow cover and an early spring melt back in that case.

A perfect storm for wildfires and Arctic melt together.
The take-away from El Nino is not clear from what I can tell.  What *has* been typical in the past is *significantly* increased rainfall in southern and central California... from Famine to "Gluttony" in a quick reversal.  The heat suggests that it won't be snowfall, which means rain, floods, mudslides and other unpleasant outcomes.

What El Nino does to the Arctic I'm less clear on.  If the moisture stays south, yes, that suggests less snow cover.  Whether than translates into less snow cover on the pack this winter is a different question.  If we have more heat, some recent papers have suggested pretty clearly that translates into more moisture at high latitudes, and more snow cover on the ice.  Snow early on is *not* good for ice generation, as it's a marvelous insulator.  (Hope for low precipitation and clear skies...).

If we do see a lot of heat and moisture export into the Arctic, that has very bad implications for the Maxima.  H2O is an excellent GHG, and on top of that, when it does exit the atmosphere, it will dump a lot of energy into it, which is energy that won't be exiting the Arctic ocean.

<So> diversion aside, snow won't be a good sign for next season, and this season looks to becoming as bad as we've had for the last few years.  The only think helping us may be, a lot of low hanging fruit has already burnt up...
This space for Rent.

jdallen

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3024
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 190
  • Likes Given: 172
Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #51 on: August 24, 2015, 05:48:02 AM »
Siberia is still burning, or perhaps, burning more?

This space for Rent.

jdallen

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3024
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 190
  • Likes Given: 172
This space for Rent.

jdallen

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3024
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 190
  • Likes Given: 172
This space for Rent.

silkman

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 308
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 16
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #54 on: August 24, 2015, 09:24:58 AM »
The frightening fact is that JDA's two stories from the Siberian Times are datelined 11 days apart.

These wildfires seem to be totally out of control and are clearly threatening the future of a critical but fragile, globally significant heritage site.

Similar fires have been burning in the area all summer. If this isn't a wake up call for those with their heads in the sand about the threat to our Boreal forests I don't know what is!

1rover1

  • New ice
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 7
Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #55 on: August 25, 2015, 07:18:02 AM »
The Siberian wildfires are in the boreal forest, an environment that needs wildfire to maintain itself, so from that perspective, whether ignited by man or lightning, they are a natural event to a point.  But the wildfire fighting community has a bit of a problem; they got too good at it for their own good.  Since the end of WWII they got really good at fighting wildfires, finding them early, hitting them hard, using helicopters, air tankers, heavy equipment, and gas powered pumps.   Or at least they got really good at fighting the low intensity wildfires who's spread and behaviour were already somewhat limited by small amounts of forest fuel loading in the understory. 

On the parts of the landscape with timber we used logging to, in some respects, emulate wildfire.  It removes the fuels, we re-establish the trees and keep the forest young.  But there are many parts of the landscape, the black spruce bogs, slow growing soil types, steep slopes, sensitive areas, parks, and residential subdivisions in the forest, where, through firefighting, we almost eliminated fire, the landscape.  This, in an ecosystem, that relies on fire as a natural disturbance, as it's only natural method to replenish itself.   Over this last 70 years the amount of fuels on the landscape has been changing, increasing, well beyond what might be within the natural range of variability. 

So now, many of our wildfires in the boreal forest are driven by a much higher fuel loading than they saw before.  The network, or patchwork, of small or low intensity wildfires is gone from the landscape, and we experience the mega fire phenomenon.  (Google mega fire and you get lots of good reading).   These fuel driven mega fires are further complicated by changes in the weather.  Wildfire behaviour is incredibly sensitive to relative humidity, temperature, wind speed, and fuel type, and all of these are sensitive to climate change. 

One small example of a seemingly minor weather change with big implications.  The temperature of our overnight lows seem to be changing, increasing, although our daytime high temps seem less changed, (according to a few small local data sets we looked at, nothing publishable).  But this one small change means more frost free days, earlier snow melt in spring, less relative humidity recovery (increase) overnight, a longer effective wildfire burning period during the day,  grass curing earlier in the season so more cured (flammable) grass,  and I’m sure a whole number of more complications.

solartim27

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 548
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 17
  • Likes Given: 19
Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #56 on: August 25, 2015, 08:09:00 AM »
Any idea if Russia is having problems with the beetles like we have in the US?  They have been able to survive over the winter now, so the population has been exploding.
http://www.livescience.com/18797-beetle-outbreaks-forests-carbon-nsf-bts.html
FNORD

jdallen

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3024
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 190
  • Likes Given: 172
Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #57 on: August 25, 2015, 08:44:09 AM »
The Siberian wildfires are in the boreal forest, an environment that needs wildfire to maintain itself, so from that perspective, whether ignited by man or lightning, they are a natural event to a point.  But the wildfire fighting community has a bit of a problem; they got too good at it for their own good.  Since the end of WWII they got really good at fighting wildfires, finding them early, hitting them hard, using helicopters, air tankers, heavy equipment, and gas powered pumps.   Or at least they got really good at fighting the low intensity wildfires who's spread and behaviour were already somewhat limited by small amounts of forest fuel loading in the understory. 

On the parts of the landscape with timber we used logging to, in some respects, emulate wildfire.  It removes the fuels, we re-establish the trees and keep the forest young.  But there are many parts of the landscape, the black spruce bogs, slow growing soil types, steep slopes, sensitive areas, parks, and residential subdivisions in the forest, where, through firefighting, we almost eliminated fire, the landscape.  This, in an ecosystem, that relies on fire as a natural disturbance, as it's only natural method to replenish itself.   Over this last 70 years the amount of fuels on the landscape has been changing, increasing, well beyond what might be within the natural range of variability. 

So now, many of our wildfires in the boreal forest are driven by a much higher fuel loading than they saw before.  The network, or patchwork, of small or low intensity wildfires is gone from the landscape, and we experience the mega fire phenomenon.  (Google mega fire and you get lots of good reading).   These fuel driven mega fires are further complicated by changes in the weather.  Wildfire behaviour is incredibly sensitive to relative humidity, temperature, wind speed, and fuel type, and all of these are sensitive to climate change. 

One small example of a seemingly minor weather change with big implications.  The temperature of our overnight lows seem to be changing, increasing, although our daytime high temps seem less changed, (according to a few small local data sets we looked at, nothing publishable).  But this one small change means more frost free days, earlier snow melt in spring, less relative humidity recovery (increase) overnight, a longer effective wildfire burning period during the day,  grass curing earlier in the season so more cured (flammable) grass,  and I’m sure a whole number of more complications.

That might be true, in this country, with the legacy of Gifford Pinochot.  However, I don't think the problems in Siberia are the result of over-management of fires.  Bluntly, Russia, and the Soviet Union before it had neither the incentive nor the resources to do anything to control wildfires.

What we are seeing around Baikal and elsewhere is something different.

Even in North America, what's happening in long since no longer the consequence of bad forestry policies; far too much of those badly managed forests have already burned.  We are on to something else.
This space for Rent.

Rick Aster

  • New ice
  • Posts: 71
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #58 on: September 09, 2015, 06:32:29 PM »
CBC News talks to Kevin Trenberth about the climate getting drier in the far north, focusing especially on the Northwest Territories.

Northern Canada will keep getting drier as temperatures rise, says scientist http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/northern-canada-will-keep-getting-drier-as-temperatures-rise-says-scientist-1.3220228

vox_mundi

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1735
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 723
  • Likes Given: 114
Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #59 on: July 19, 2019, 05:05:31 PM »
Satellite Images Show Vast Swaths of the Arctic On Fire
https://earther.gizmodo.com/satellite-images-show-vast-swaths-of-the-arctic-on-fire-1836500468


Wildfires in Batagay in central Siberia and the region’s Lena River.

Vast stretches of Earth’s northern latitudes are on fire right now. Hot weather has engulfed a huge portion of the Arctic, from Alaska to Greenland to Siberia. That’s helped create conditions ripe for wildfires, including some truly massive ones burning in remote parts of the region that are being seen by satellites.


Fires and smoke along Siberia’s Lena River.

https://twitter.com/Pierre_Markuse
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late