Sound the alarm: – A disturbing discovery

Sound the alarm: – A disturbing discovery

Briefly

  • Scientists have found that the number of severe wildfires has doubled worldwide over the past 20 years, largely due to climate change.
  • This has dire consequences for both the environment and people.
  • Experts warn that the situation may worsen in the future.

In recent years, massive wildfires have swept across several continents. Australia, the United States and Greece have been among the countries most affected.

At the latest this week, more than 70 Norwegian tourists were evacuated as a sea of ​​fire spread over the holiday islands of Chios and Kos.

Intense forest fires on Kos: - fast approaching

Intense forest fires on Kos: – fast approaching


Scientists believe that fires are becoming more intense and have increasingly greater consequences than before. They believe this trend will only get worse in the future.

The number doubled

Wildfires can occur naturally, as a result of lightning strikes, or they can be started by humans. They are a natural part of many ecosystems. But when large wildfires break out, they can cause problems for both people and wildlife.

Australia, with its dry climate and high temperatures, has been hit by several severe fires in recent years. Now a new study from the University of Tasmania has identified the occurrence of severe fires.

A severe blow: Australia experienced massive bushfires in the winter of 2019-20. The fires killed billions of vertebrates and destroyed the distribution of many plant species. Photo: PETER PARKES/AFP/NTB

A severe blow: Australia experienced massive bushfires in the winter of 2019-20. The fires killed billions of vertebrates and destroyed the distribution of many plant species. Photo: PETER PARKES/AFP/NTB
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The Australian survey was conducted by analyzing satellite data from NASA. The scientists looked at the top 0.01% of wildfires, ranked by the amount of energy released each day.

In other words, they mapped the most powerful wildfires.

The analysis showed a disturbing result:

The number of severe wildfires worldwide has doubled over the past 20 years.

5 billion affected

5 billion affected


refers to climate change

The report is published in the scientific journal Nature and Evolution EnvironmentHe points to climate change as a cause of more intense wildfires.

Australia and countries along the Mediterranean are particularly vulnerable. This has serious consequences. The fires cause massive carbon emissions and damage to nature, property, people and animals.

Jörund Rolstad is head of research at the scientific institute NIBIO. He is an expert in forest fires.

Rolstad tells Dagbladet that there are two main reasons why we have seen more severe forest fires in recent years:

Fuel: Dead wood and heather can give life to new, more powerful wildfires. Photo: Tor Erik Schroeder SCANPIX/NTB.

Fuel: Dead wood and heather can give life to new, more powerful wildfires. Photo: Tor Erik Schroeder SCANPIX/NTB.
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  • Warmer, drier climate.
  • Increased amounts of dead biomass used as fuel.

Time bomb

Ironically, suppressing small wildfires can lead to a greater chance of severe wildfires, the research leader says.

– When a small fire is extinguished, there is a lot of fuel left. Dead wood, heather, and leftover branches act as kindling.

At the same time, the forest is getting denser over the years. As temperatures rise and more branches die, it becomes very flammable.

– It would be a time bomb, the expert says. The winds could cause the fire to spread to populated areas. And then it could end in disaster.

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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