Study: Forest and steppe fires have doubled in the past 20 years Study: Forest and steppe fires have doubled in the past 20 years

Study: Forest and steppe fires have doubled in the past 20 years

Study: Forest and steppe fires have doubled in the past 20 years

It has become clear to Australian climate scientists that the frequency of forest and steppe fires has at least doubled during the years 2003-2023, especially in the last six years.

The journal Nature Ecology & Evolution notes that the researchers' calculations show that over the past two decades, the frequency and size of forest fires have doubled, and the situation has changed dramatically in the taiga and in temperate coniferous forests, which previously stored large amounts of carbon. All of these processes reflect how the Earth's climate is changing.

The researchers, headed by Professor David Bowman from the University of Tasmania, tracked the dynamics of fire development, using satellite data and images during the aforementioned period. The researchers focused their attention on how the size and frequency of these fires have changed since the beginning of this century, taking into account how temperatures on Earth have risen and other climate changes recorded during this period.

By studying more than 88 million images, the researchers were able to identify all the hotspots of forest and steppe fires and the amount of energy emitted from them.

Subsequent analysis of fires showed that their total area has decreased slightly over the past two decades, but their frequency has increased by 2.2 times, and the amount of energy has increased, especially in the last 6-7 years, when new records for summer and winter temperatures have been constantly set on Earth.

The researchers discovered that the largest forest and steppe fires occurred in North America and its adjacent areas and in Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and New Guinea. As it became clear to them, fires have begun to spread in recent years in the taiga and coniferous forests of Russia and other countries in northern Eurasia, Canada and the northern regions of the United States.

According to Professor Bowman and his scientific team, this trend worries researchers, because these northern climate regions contain particularly large reserves of organic matter, which in the past were rarely exposed to forest fires. Their destruction could accelerate global warming and associated changes in the functioning of the Earth's ecosystems.

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