With world distracted, the Amazon rainforest continues to burn

With world distracted, the Amazon rainforest continues to burn

SOURCE: South China Morning Post DATE: May 9, 2020 SNIP: It has not got much attention with the world focused on coronavirus, but deforestation has surged in the Amazon rainforest this year, raising fears of a repeat of last year’s record-breaking devastation – or worse. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon hit a new high in the first four months of the year, according to data released Friday by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE), which uses satellite images to track the destruction. A total of 1,202 square kilometres of forest – an area more than 20 times the size of Manhattan – was wiped out in the Brazilian Amazon from January to April, it found. That was a 55 per cent increase from the same period last year, and the highest figure for the first four months of the year since monthly records began in August 2015. The numbers raise new questions about how well Brazil is protecting its share of the world’s biggest rainforest under President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right climate change sceptic who advocates opening protected lands to mining and farming. “Unfortunately, it looks like what we can expect for this year are more record-breaking fires and deforestation,” Greenpeace campaigner Romulo Batista said in a statement. Last year, in Bolsonaro’s first year in office, deforestation soared 85 per cent in the Brazilian Amazon, to 10,123 square kilometres of forest. The trend so far in 2020 is all the more worrying given that the usual high season for deforestation only starts in late...
Major Fire Threat in California

Major Fire Threat in California

SOURCE: Weather Underground DATE: November 8, 2018 SNIP: Fire weather typically peaks during the autumn in California’s Mediterranean climate. The state’s precipitation occurs mainly during the months from late autumn through spring. The landscape then dries out in the typically rain-free heat of summer, leaving it primed to burn at times when strong, dry autumn winds push through the area. The most dangerous setup is when east or northeast winds prevail, as the air warms and the relative humidity drops when these winds push downslope into the state’s extensive wildland-urban interface. In keeping with recent years, California has just come off yet another scorching summer. State temperatures from July through September were the hottest for any July-to-Sept. period in 124 years of record keeping, according to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Making matters worse, there has been very little rain so far this autumn. Paradise, CA, has received just 0.14” of total precipitation since October 1, which is a mere 3% of the long-term average of 4.49” for the period Oct. 1 – Nov. 7. Just to the south, Sacramento is having one of the ten driest starts to the wet season in its history, receiving a meager 0.04” on the only day of rain since October 1. Between the summer heat and the lack of autumn rain, the amount of moisture held in soils and vegetation over parts of California is close to record-low...
These NASA Images Show Siberia Burning Up

These NASA Images Show Siberia Burning Up

SOURCE: Climate Central DATE: June 28, 2017 SNIP: Siberian wildfire season is off and running with multiple blazes searing the boreal forest and tundra. It’s the latest example of the vast shifts happening to the forests that cover Siberia and the rest of the northern tier of the world as climate change alters the landscape. Those forests are burning at a rate unheard of in at least 10,000 years due largely to rising temperatures. They contain vast reserves of carbon stored in trees and soil and when they burn, they send that carbon into the atmosphere. That creates a dangerous cycle of more severe wildfires and ever rising temperatures. Image: A satellite image captured on June 23, 2017 shows the extent of wildfires burning across Siberia. Credit: NASA Earth...
Lightning Sparking More Boreal Forest Fires

Lightning Sparking More Boreal Forest Fires

SOURCE: NASA JPL DATE: June 26, 2017 SNIP: A new NASA-funded study finds that lightning storms were the main driver of recent massive fire years in Alaska and northern Canada, and that these storms are likely to move farther north with climate warming, potentially altering northern landscapes. The study, led by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of California, Irvine, examined the cause of the fires, which have been increasing in number in recent years. There was a record number of lightning-ignited fires in the Canadian Northwest Territories in 2014 and in Alaska in 2015. The team found increases of between two and five percent a year in the number of lightning-ignited fires since...