New research published in the online open access journal Carbon Balance and Management quantifies these emissions and suggests fires will complicate emissions monitoring and modelling efforts.
Christine Wiedinmyer of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Jason Neff of the University of Colorado, both in Boulder, US, used satellite imaging data to determine the extent of fires over the period 2002-2006. They estimated the output of CO2 based on the degree of forest cover in a particular area.
Typical annual emissions from fires are around 5 percent of the manmade total for the United States. However during major fires in the Western and Southeastern US, the proportion of fire contributions to CO2 emissions can increase dramatically. The authors note, "A striking implication of very large wildfires is that a severe fire season lasting only one or two months can release as much carbon as the annual emissions from the entire transportation or energy sector of an individual state."
Although the release of CO2 in fires should be balanced over the long-term by the uptake of CO2 as new vegetation grows, the immediate impact of the fires on atmospheric CO2 is significant. This may create difficulties in accounting for carbon sources and sinks, and in assessing trends with current remote sensing technologies.
Dr Wiedinmyer also warns, "There is a significant potential for additional net release of carbon from the forests of the United States due to changing fire dynamics in the coming decades." Although fire emissions are not currently included in most CO2 emission restriction agreements, increasing fire frequency and severity can lead to greater emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere and compound the problems that are related to manmade emissions.
The fires include wild fires, prescribed burning and burning for agricultural purposes, but the majority of these emissions come from needle leaf forest fires in the western and southeastern States.
Charlotte Webber | alfa
Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung
Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
19.01.2017 | Life Sciences
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy