Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wildfires closely linked to climate change

10.02.2009
Abrupt climate change during a phase of forest expansion can lead to an increase in wildfires. This has just been shown by an international team of researchers including Christopher Carcaillet from the Center for Bio-Archeology and Ecology (CNRS/Université Montpellier 2/Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes de Paris).

The researchers analyzed the variation in wildfires in response to the abrupt climate change that took place between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago. The results provide valuable information about possible trends in wildfires in the future. These findings have been published on line in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) dated 3 February 2009.

The authors of the article studied the period from 15,000 to 10,000 years ago which was characterized by very large scale environmental change, similar to that which is emerging today. They reconstructed the history of wildfires between 15,000 and 10,000 BP (1) from sedimentary charcoal records. By studying fossil pollen, they were able to show that there was a major increase in plant biomass during the warming of the climate that took place from the end of the Younger Dryas (a period of cooling lasting from around 12,900 to 11,700 years ago). They were able to establish clear links between these two sets of data.

Biomass burning gradually increased until the beginning of the Younger Dryas. Although there are records of variation in fire activity between 12,900 and 11,700 BP, there is no evidence for any systematic trend at that time. However, there was a rapid increase in wildfires after the end of the Younger Dryas around 11,700 BP, in other words right at the beginning of the warm climate period known as the Holocene in which we are currently still living. The timing of changes in frequency of fires is neither coincident with emerging population change in human societies, nor with the timing of the extinction of herbivorous megafauna in North America, and even less so with a hypothetical meteorite bombardment, three factors which could have had an effect on the outbreak and spread of fires on a large scale.

The conclusions of the study emphasize the major environmental role played by climate change during a period of accelerated warming in determining broad-scale fire activity.

This study is a logical sequel to another study published in Nature Geoscience in October 2008 (2) which showed that the climate was a natural planet-wide driving force of the fire regime through the centuries that preceded the Industrial revolution.

This research implies that ongoing global warming, which is especially noticeable at temperate and northern latitudes, as well as the forest expansion resulting from major agricultural abandonment in industrialized areas, could promote the spread of climate-driven fires and lead to new societal and environmental risks.

(1) BP: years before present

(2) Marlon J.R., Bartlein P.J., Carcaillet C., Gavin D.G., Harrison S.P., Higuera P.E., Joos F., Power M.J. & Prentice I.C. (2008) Climate and human influences on global biomass burning over the past two millennia. Nature Geoscience 1, 697 - 702 (2008), doi :10.1038/ngeo313

Julien Guillaume | alfa
Further information:
http://www.cnrs.fr

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>