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Wildfires 2019 Thread

Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 14 Jul 2019, 10:31:03

dohboi wrote:It's not clear whether the wild fires in Alaska and the Arctic in general are entirely 'natural' this year. There's been a huge spike in fires all around the Arctic this June...not a great sign:


https://insideclimatenews.org/news/1107 ... ty-funding


By 'Natural' I mean a natural consequence of changing climate. In this case it maters not a wit whether planetary physics or human actions are causing climate change, the climate is indeed changing and the changing forests of the Taiga is an easily predicted consequence of that change.

Throwing around terms like 'unprecedented' is pretty useless IMO because the climate is not what it was so the old standards no longer apply to the locations being referred to.

Not to mention that fact that reports have painfully little depth of historical events and often label anything which has not happened recently as 'unprecedented' even if the exact same thing happened 25 or more years ago. For example the word Unprecedented was thrown around a lot referring to the Missouri river flooding earlier this year despite that fact that the floods of 1992 were much more severe and extensive. Its like the reporters can't think about anything that took place before their own birth.
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 14 Jul 2019, 10:36:07

Wildfires spread in your mind as well as out their in physical forests......
In forests there are green shoots following a fire.
In your mind wildfires tend to smolder black for years with pessimism and no green shoots of renewal emerge.

Watch your mind as it reinforces your internal narrative.
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Sun 14 Jul 2019, 12:11:25

I've said this several times before but I think it bears repeating based on Tanadas correct comments. Wildfires have always occurred, the actual number of wildfires has actually decreased whereas in certain parts of North America the burn areas per fire have increased. Many forestry researchers have pointed out two key facts...the vast majority of wildfires in North America start from lightning strikes and the problem has been the ever-increasing amount of fuel on forest floors. Before the Smokey the Bear policy forests had a natural ability to manage fuel accumulation, it was regular fires. Because the fires were regular that resulted in smaller burn areas that normally died out either because they ran out of fuel or rains etc. After the Smokey the Bear policy where all fires were seen to be bad and the goal was to eradicate all fires fuel continued to accumulate on the forest fire. When a lightning strike occurs the chances of a climax fire are that much greater. Obviously, if conditions in certain areas have become drier that exacerbates the problem, but it doesn't negate the fact that a combination of normal fire occurrence along with mans proclivity to control fires without understanding the consequences is the primary factor. Also as I have mentioned a number of times the health of most forests depend on regular forest fires. Many of the trees and shrubs are fire successional species, they release new seeds at very high temperatures. And a lot of wildlife (eg: deer and elk) require new shoots of species such as aspen popular in order to thrive.
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 14 Jul 2019, 22:25:07

rockdoc123 wrote:.... the problem has been the ever-increasing amount of fuel on forest floors.


Thats not the whole problem. Global heating is creating warmer and drier conditions in the forests, and global heating is also causing more lightning strikes.

Most people dont understand that there is a very direct connection between global warming and the number of lightning-caused fires, but the science is pretty clear on this.

science: Every 1*C of warming causes 12% more lightning strikes

Here in Alaska where we are dealing with hundreds of wildfires this summer caused by lightning, the link between warmer temps and more lightning strikes is very clear. We've been having near record warm days continuously for months now, and thunderstorms appeared much earlier then usual.

Warm-Alaska-temperatures-lead-to-increase-in-lightning-strikes

Image
Longer hotter summers in Alaska means a longer season for thunderstorms and more lightning strikes means more lightning caused fires.

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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby jedrider » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 14:20:10

California’s Wildfires Are 500 Percent Larger Due to Climate Change
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/07/climate-change-500-percent-increase-california-wildfires/594016/

Makes sense to me. We still have deniers here?
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 15:36:44

Makes sense to me. We still have deniers her


California wildfires has been discussed at length here before.

maybe take your arguments up with Dr Cliff Mass who is the prof of Atmospheric Sciences at University of Washington

here is what he had to say about the big increase in California wildfires

The bottom line of the real fire data produced by the State of California and in the peer-reviewed literature is clear:  there has been no upward trend in the number of wildfires in California during the past decades.   In fact, the frequency of fires has declined.

And in most of the state, there has not been an increasing trend in area burned during the past several decades.

Yes....this and last year had some big fires, but a few years does not make a trend.
So there is a lot misinformation going around in the media, some environmental advocacy groups, and some politicians.   The story can't be a simply that warming is increasing the numbers of wildfires in California because the number of fires is declining.  And area burned has not been increasing either.

But now we get into the real interesting questions that many are not considering.   What is driving the ups and downs in wildfires?  There are so many factors that must be considered, such as:

1.  The fact that extensive fires are a natural historical part of the ecology of the region
2.  The impacts of a huge increase of human population, creating increasing vulnerability while humans are starting most of the fires.
3.   Climate change that causes warming and changing the precipitation patterns (both wetter and drier) that influence fire frequency and size.
4.  Mismanagement of our forests and wild areas, allowing tree and debris-choked landscapes
5.  Invasive and often highly flammable non-native species brought in by man (e.g., cheatgrass and Eucalyptus)

Clearly, climate change is only one possible factor in controlling fire frequency and may not be the most important


and before you resort to calling him a "denier"

A quote from Mass:
Global warming is an extraordinarily serious issue, and scientists have a key role to play in communicating what is known and what is not about this critical issue.


From Wikipedia

Mass has stated publicly that he shares the scientific consensus that global warming is real and that human activity is the primary cause of warming trends in the 20th and 21st centuries. He has been critical of the Paris Climate accord for not going far enough to address the negative impacts of climate change. However, Mass is also frequently critical of what he has characterizes as exaggerations of the past and current impacts of climate change in the news media, including the attribution of individual extreme weather events to global warming.”


as to lighting as an ignitor and climate change

Most people dont understand that there is a very direct connection between global warming and the number of lightning-caused fires, but the science is pretty clear on this.


apparently, there are a few scientists who would argue the science is not clear in the direction you suggest:

Declan L. Finney, Ruth M. Doherty, Oliver Wild, David S. Stevenson, Ian A. MacKenzie, Alan M. Blyth. 2018 A projected decrease in lightning under climate change. Nature Climate Change; DOI: 10.1038/s41558-018-0072-6

Lightning strongly influences atmospheric chemistry and impacts the frequency of natural wildfires4. Most previous studies project an increase in global lightning with climate change over the coming century but these typically use parameterizations of lightning that neglect cloud ice fluxes, a component generally considered to be fundamental to thunderstorm charging. As such, the response of lightning to climate change is uncertain. Here, we compare lightning projections for 2100 using two parameterizations: the widely used cloud-top height (CTH) approach, and a new upward cloud ice flux (IFLUX) approach10 that overcomes previous limitations. In contrast to the previously reported global increase in lightning based on CTH, we find a 15% decrease in total lightning flash rate with IFLUX in 2100 under a strong global warming scenario. Differences are largest in the tropics, where most lightning occurs, with implications for the estimation of future changes in tropospheric ozone and methane, as well as differences in their radiative forcings. These results suggest that lightning schemes more closely related to cloud ice and microphysical processes are needed to robustly estimate future changes in lightning and atmospheric composition.
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby jedrider » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 15:57:24

I am comfortable in believing that climate change IS at the root of the present fire danger in Western North America and much of the World as well.

How do I know? Well, the summer/dry season has gotten longer (documented fact), the temperature has increased (documented fact), the Jet Stream has been causing unusual weather condition over the entire United States and Europe (documented fact), and the fires have been all off the scale in very recent California history (documented fact).

I don't have to be a genius to connect the dots.

And, if someone is interested:

Why Cliff Mass Is a Very Dangerous Weatherperson
https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/05/06/24054552/why-cliff-mass-is-a-very-dangerous-weatherperson
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 18:01:41

I don't have to be a genius to connect the dots.


good thing as you most certainly aren't one apparently :roll:

And, if someone is interested:

Why Cliff Mass Is a Very Dangerous Weatherperson
https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/0 ... therperson


jesus wept.....this has been debunked so many times it makes my head spin. He is not a "weatherperson" , rather he is a full professor in atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington where he has been since 1981. He has published 2 books and is author or co-author on 123 peer reviewed articles in journals. He is a fellow of the AMS and has held various committee chairs related to weather and climate research, served on about 20 national committees with regards to meteorological data and has supervised more than 30 graduate student theses. A record more impressive than say Michael Mann. More importantly, he is on record (as I quoted above) that he supports the theory of global warming. The fact he points out the misuse and abuse of data by the news media with regards to extreme events and their link to climate historically makes him a good scientist. Of course, you wouldn't know what that is. Stick to your BS news articles or blogs written by the science illiterate (as your post was), make sure you don't look at any real data and make sure you don't question anything. :roll:
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby jedrider » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 18:40:05

"He is not a "weatherperson" , rather he is a full professor in atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington where he has been since 1981."

Well, that's a start, I suppose. He has two books, one of which is "Weather of the Pacific Northwest". I don't see "Climate" anywhere in the title nor in the table of contents. I guess one can ignore CHANGE in such a topic, possibly at risk of becoming OBSOLETE though. Well, the weather itself changes, but one has to see the forest for the trees.
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby Plantagenet » Tue 16 Jul 2019, 19:27:56

Declan L. Finney, Ruth M. Doherty, Oliver Wild, David S. Stevenson, Ian A. MacKenzie, Alan M. Blyth. 2018 A projected decrease in lightning under climate change. Nature Climate Change; DOI: 10.1038/s41558-018-0072-6
.....we find a 15% decrease in total lightning flash rate with IFLUX in 2100 under a strong global warming scenario.


Thats not real, empirical data. Thats a prediction for the year 2100 based on a numerical climate model. Also their prediction is primarily for the tropics, where the least amount of warming is projected to occur.

The way you evaluate predictions from numerical models is to see if the real-time data matches or supports the model prediction. At least at high latitudes there is a significant increase in lightning going on right now, consistent with the model I linked to but falsifying the model you linked to.

We've been seeing record amounts of lightning during summers in Alaska for several years now, corresponding to our record warm summer temperatures. AND, the summer thunderstorm season is starting earlier in the past, also resulting in more lightning spread across more months.

alaska-record-46000-lightning-strikes-and-many-fires

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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Wed 17 Jul 2019, 10:07:56

Thats not real, empirical data. Thats a prediction for the year 2100 based on a numerical climate model. Also their prediction is primarily for the tropics, where the least amount of warming is projected to occur.


you realize the link you provided arguing that climate change will increase lightning strikes was also a climate model don't you?
When this proxy is applied to 11 climate models, CONUS lightning strikes are predicted to increase 12 ± 5% per degree Celsius of global warming and about 50% over this century.


As for the other link there is no argument that there is an increase in Alaska in thunderstorm activity due to warmer temperatures but not all thunderstorms result in lightning stikes.

https://accap.uaf.edu/sites/default/fil ... tation.pdf

According to this analysis, there is a relationship between the average number of thunderstorms and average temperature but there is no correlation between lightning strikes and average temperature. The attached graphs (albeit only to 2010) shows that relationship and there are considerable periods where the temperature is well above the average and lightning strike activity is below the average (highlighted in blue). There is one anomalous year in 2008 where the lightning strike incidence is very high but the area of forest burned is way down the list in terms of ranking and temperatures were below the long term average. Clearly there is not a one to one relationship here unless you want to ignore the actual data.

Image

What is important observation in terms of Alaska is that amongst the US states it ranks as the highest in terms of burned area but quite low in terms of number of annual fires or density of fires. What that speaks to is not ignition but two factors, fuel and suppression. Climate has some impact on the fuel issue in that if there is a lot of forest floor fuel or standing dead trees hotter temperatures with less moisture will make the situation much worse. That of course requires the fuel to be there in the first place. Climate has nothing to do with suppression which has two impacts on the area burned. Firstly if small fires are continually suppressed then the fuel situation becomes unmanageable since it is the continuous fires that keep the forest fuel managed. Secondly Alaska is a very large state with very remote and often not all that accessible areas hence large fires can be difficult to control in comparison to other US states.
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby Plantagenet » Wed 17 Jul 2019, 11:01:48

you realize the link you provided arguing that climate change will increase lightning strikes was also a climate model don't you?


What a bizarre question. YOU just demonstrated you don't understand what you read.

If you were able to comprehend what you read, you would have seen that very point discussed in my post.

Now allow me to ask you a question.

You realize lightning strikes actually are increasing, don't you? I posted two links documenting it.

That means the models that predicted increasing frequency of lightning strikes are supported by the real world data and the model you cited predicting lightning strikes would decline isn't consistent with the real world data.

BZZZZTTTTTT! That means you are wrong once again.

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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby jedrider » Wed 17 Jul 2019, 11:12:51

The other FACTOID is that fire-suppression has been going on for DECADES, yet the volume and ferocity of fires has taken a steep uptick these last two decades, which also corresponds to the steep inclination of the warming trends of our climate AND CO2 and, perhaps, use of natural gas (just pulled that out of my backend hole). ??

[Note that I have particular interest in these trends as I'm living in ground zero.5 of this situation. Not of immediate danger, thank goodness, but still close enough. I go visit one of the burnt out regions tomorrow and I hope to see green shoots everywhere and not hardened blackened ground. Although, the blackened trunks of Oak Trees I have seen before and will not be too surprised at their sight. I think it takes roughly five years for the blackness to disappear, but after all the rains this year, maybe that timespan will have shrank to just one good rainy season.]
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Wed 17 Jul 2019, 11:22:15

The other FACTOID is that fire-suppression has been going on for DECADES, yet the volume and ferocity of fires has taken a steep uptick these last two decades, which also corresponds to the steep inclination of the warming trends of our climate AND CO2 and, perhaps, use of natural gas (just pulled that out of my backend hole). ??


this is incorrect according to the data for both the US and the world. The actual number of fires has declined. In certain areas of the US the area burned has increased but there are other areas in the world where area burned has not increased. You are not only misinterpreting the data but also oversimplifying any relationships. It's statements like you just made that irk actual atmospheric scientists like Cliff Mass. Apparently you don't get that. :roll:
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby jedrider » Wed 17 Jul 2019, 12:24:04

My quick reply: I said VOLUME of wildfires, which should be construed as AREA of wildfires. Historically, people start fires 'all the time', especially in third world countries. Tell me about wildfires in European Union, Russia, USA, Canada, Brazil. These are the countries (or unions) that matter.

[Let me leave out Brazil, where intentional fires have been going on for some time. A true 'Tragedy of the Commons'.
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Wed 17 Jul 2019, 13:52:31

My quick reply: I said VOLUME of wildfires, which should be construed as AREA of wildfires. Historically, people start fires 'all the time', especially in third world countries. Tell me about wildfires in European Union, Russia, USA, Canada, Brazil. These are the countries (or unions) that matter.


well VOLUME doesn't mean the same thing as AREA.

But as has been posted here previously:

N. Andela et al, 2017, A human-driven decline in global burned area, Science, 30, v356. pp. 1356-1362

Fire is an essential Earth system process that alters ecosystem and atmospheric composition. Here we assessed long-term fire trends using multiple satellite data sets. We found that global burned area declined by 24.3 ± 8.8% over the past 18 years. The estimated decrease in burned area remained robust after adjusting for precipitation variability and was largest in savannas. Agricultural expansion and intensification were primary drivers of declining fire activity. Fewer and smaller fires reduced aerosol concentrations, modified vegetation structure, and increased the magnitude of the terrestrial carbon sink. Fire models were unable to reproduce the pattern and magnitude of observed declines, suggesting that they may overestimate fire emissions in future projections. Using economic and demographic variables, we developed a conceptual model for predicting fire in human-dominated landscapes.


Doerr. S and Santin, C, 2016. Global trends in wildfire and its impacts: perceptions versus realities in a changing world. Phil Tran Roy Soc, V 371. doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0345

Wildfire has been an important process affecting the Earth's surface and atmosphere for over 350 million years and human societies have coexisted with fire since their emergence. Yet many consider wildfire as an accelerating problem, with widely held perceptions both in the media and scientific papers of increasing fire occurrence, severity and resulting losses. However, important exceptions aside, the quantitative evidence available does not support these perceived overall trends. Instead, global area burned appears to have overall declined over past decades, and there is increasing evidence that there is less fire in the global landscape today than centuries ago. Regarding fire severity, limited data are available. For the western USA, they indicate little change overall, and also that area burned at high severity has overall declined compared to pre-European settlement. Direct fatalities from fire and economic losses also show no clear trends over the past three decades. Trends in indirect impacts, such as health problems from smoke or disruption to social functioning, remain insufficiently quantified to be examined. Global predictions for increased fire under a warming climate highlight the already urgent need for a more sustainable coexistence with fire. The data evaluation presented here aims to contribute to this by reducing misconceptions and facilitating a more informed understanding of the realities of global fire.
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby Azothius » Wed 17 Jul 2019, 14:10:46

Average size of wildfires continued to increase in 2018

https://wildfiretoday.com/2019/02/02/av ... e-in-2018/



Image

Image


While the number of wildfires and the total acres burned both declined in 2018 the average size continued to increase. The number of wildfires has been trending down since at least 1985 and the average size has been increasing. There are variations in the number of acres burned from year to year roughly in five to six-year cycles, but in the late 1980s the average size of a wildfire in the U.S. was 30 acres. That number has increased every decade since, bringing the average for this decade (to date) up to 101 acres.

The number of acres burned and the total number of fires decreased in 2018 from 2017 by 13 and 22 percent respectively, while the acres burned was sixth highest since records have been kept.

If the five to six-year cycle for burned acres that we noticed in the data is real, and continues, we could expect lower numbers for the next three to four years beginning in 2019 compared to 2017 and 2018.





How climate change is increasing forest fires around the world

https://www.dw.com/en/how-climate-chang ... 19465490-0


According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), every state in the western US has experienced an increase in the average annual number of large wildfires over past decades.

Extensive studies have found that large forest fires in the western US have been occurring nearly five times more often since the 1970s and 80s. Such fires are burning more than six times the land area as before, and lasting almost five times longer

What's more, wildfire season - meaning seasons with higher wildfire potential - has universally become longer over the past 40 years.


This trend is something Jason Funk, senior climate scientist with UCS, is very worried about.

"2015 was a record-breaking year in the US, with more than 10 million acres burned," he told DW in an interview. "That's about 4 million hectares, or an area of the size of the Netherlands or Switzerland."

"It's a scale we haven't seen in recent history and it's very concerning."

According to Funk, not only US forests are endangered by increasing wildfires - the trend has been that wildfires are burning more area around the world.

"In recent years, there have been big fires in Siberia and various other places around the world where we typically don't see large-scale wildfires," he said.

Projections by the UCS suggest that wildfires could get four, five and even six times as bad as they currently are within this century.


Funk has been researching the impact of climate change on landscapes in the US, and says there is very well documented scientific evidence that climate change has been increasing the length of the fire season, the size of the area burned each year and the number of wildfires.

.......warmer temperatures increase evaporation, which means the atmosphere draws more moisture from soils, making the land drier.

A warmer climate also leads to earlier snowmelt, which causes soils to be drier for longer. And dry soils become more susceptible to fire.

"The areas where wildfires are taking place are always areas that [have become] drier and hotter, and where spring has come earlier," said Funk.

Drier conditions and higher temperatures increase not only the likelihood of a wildfire to occur, but also the duration and the severity of the wildfire.

Climate Chaos is Coming
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby jedrider » Wed 17 Jul 2019, 14:35:08

jedrider wrote:My quick reply: I said VOLUME of wildfires, which should be construed as AREA of wildfires. Historically, people start fires 'all the time', especially in third world countries. Tell me about wildfires in European Union, Russia, USA, Canada, Brazil. These are the countries (or unions) that matter.

Let me leave out Brazil, where intentional fires have been going on for some time. A true 'Tragedy of the Commons'.


Oh, and I'm conveniently leaving out Africa and South America, BECAUSE they have their own dynamic, which I am unfamiliar with as well. So, Earth System averaging will not get my attention as much as Europe, Asia and North America, which BTW is very populated, so should actually have a lower account of wildfire activity IMO were it not for the effects of climate change.
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Wed 17 Jul 2019, 18:31:53

Oh, and I'm conveniently leaving out Africa and South America, B


the articles I referenced refer to global wildfires, not just the US. Most people use the US and Canada to understand wildfires simply because the database is more robust and standardized.
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Re: Wildfires 2019 Thread

Unread postby dohboi » Thu 18 Jul 2019, 07:49:01

Good points, jed and az. My advice is to ignore the troll.
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