Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Archive for the ‘ecosystems’ Category

Wildfires Worsen Climate Change Positive Pull

Posted by feww on April 24, 2009

National Science Foundation: Press Release 09-081

Fire Is an Important and Under-Appreciated Part of Global Climate Change

Study identifies significant contributions of fire to climate change and identifies feedbacks between fire and climate change

April 23, 2009

Fire must be accounted for as an integral part of climate change, according to 22 authors of an article published in the April 24 issue of the journal Science. The authors determined that intentional deforestation fires alone contribute up to one-fifth of the human-caused increase in emissions of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that increases global temperature.

California Fires (June 2008)

A heat wave and windy weather plagued firefighters in California in mid-June 2008 as they worked to contain hundreds of fires across the state. Many of the fires were triggered by lightning on Friday, June 20. This natural-color image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on Monday, June 23, shows places where the sensor detected actively burning fires (red outlines). Fires appear most numerous in Northern California. The Northern region of California has experienced record low levels of rainfall this spring, leaving dry vegetation in the area. This in conjunction with windy weather has made firefighting efforts difficult. Image and Caption: MODIS Web.

Fires in Texas and Oklahoma (April 2009)

Severe weather in the second week of April 2009 fanned wildfires in northern Texas and southern Oklahoma. This image of the area was captured on April 9, 2009, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Places where the sensor detected active fires are outlined in red. A line of fires stretched across the plains west of Dallas-Forth Worth, and strong winds were driving smoke plumes from the fires toward the cities. Several people died, and hundreds of homes were destroyed according to the Texas Forest Service. NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response [sic] Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

The work is the culmination of a meeting supported by the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), both based at the University of California, Santa Barbara and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The authors call on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to fully integrate fire into their assessments of global climate change, and consider fire-climate feedbacks, which have been largely absent in global models.

The article ties together various threads of knowledge about fire, which have, until now, remained isolated in disparate fields including ecology, global modeling, physics, anthropology and climatology.

Increasing numbers of wildfires are influencing climate as well, the authors report. “The tragic fires in Victoria, Australia, emphasize the ubiquity of recent large wildfires and potentially changing fire regimes that are concomitant with anthropogenic climate change,” said David Bowman of the University of Tasmania. “Our review is both timely and of great relevance globally.”

Carbon dioxide is the most important and well-studied greenhouse gas that is emitted by burning plants. However, methane, aerosol particulates in smoke, and the changing reflectance of a charred landscape each contribute to changes in the atmosphere caused by fire. Consequences of large fires have huge economic, environmental, and health costs, report the authors.

The authors state, “Earth is intrinsically a flammable planet due to its cover of carbon-rich vegetation, seasonally dry climates, atmospheric oxygen, widespread lightning and volcano ignitions. Yet, despite the human species’ long-held appreciation of this flammability, the global scope of fire has been revealed only recently by satellite observations available beginning in the 1980s.”

They note, however, that satellites cannot adequately capture fire activity in ecosystems with very long fire intervals, or those with highly variable fire activity.

Jennifer Balch, a member of the research team and a postdoctoral fellow at NCEAS, explains that there are bigger and more frequent fires from the western U.S. to the tropics. There are “fires where we don’t normally see fires,” she said, noting that it is in the humid tropics that a lot of deforestation fires are occurring, usually to expand agriculture or cattle ranching. “Wet rainforests have not historically experienced fires at the frequency that they are today. During extreme droughts, such as in 97-98, Amazon wildfires burned through 39,000 square kilometers of forest.”

Balch explains the importance of the article: “This synthesis is a prerequisite for adaptation to the apparent recent intensification of fire feedbacks, which have been exacerbated by climate change, rapid land cover transformation, and exotic species introductions–that collectively challenge the integrity of entire biomes.”

The authors acknowledge that their estimate of fire’s influence on climate is just a start, and they highlight major research gaps that must be addressed in order to understand the complete contribution of fire to the climate system.

Balch notes that a holistic fire science is necessary, and points out fire’s true importance. “We don’t think about fires correctly,” she said. “Fire is as elemental as air or water. We live on a fire planet. We are a fire species. Yet, the study of fire has been very fragmented. We know lots about the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, but we know very little about the fire cycle, or how fire cycles through the biosphere.”

“The large and diverse group of authors on this paper typifies an increasing trend across many sciences,” said Henry Gholz, an NSF program director. “NSF explicitly supports this by funding “synthesis centers,” such as NCEAS and KITP. Instead of focusing on generating new data, these centers synthesize the results of literally thousands of completed research projects into new results, theories and insights. The conclusions of this paper–that fire is important to the global carbon cycle and global climate, and that our ignorance about fire at this scale is vast–and could not have otherwise been obtained.”


NOTE:  Wildfires are a part of Mother Nature’s defense mechanism to ensure the cycle of life.  Our lifestyles, however, have transformed this natural mechanism into a full-scale anthropogenic catastrophe.

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Posted in aerosol particulates in smoke, ecosystems, global carbon cycle, holistic fire science, western U.S. fires | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Raging Wildfires: Mother Nature ensuring the cycle of life?

Posted by feww on October 24, 2007

Mother Nature using her defense mechanisms to ensure the cycle of life? Or our lifestyles killing what’s left?


NASA satellites capture images of about 14 massive wildfires raging in Southern California, which have scorched about 1,500 square kilometers from Ventura to Mexico.

The devastating fires, enhanced by Santa Ana winds, have killed eight people and destroyed or damaged about 2,050 homes and 100 businesses. Two 500,000 volt lines and several 230,000 volt lines have gone out of service. More than 500,000 residents have been told to evacuate.

Total monetary cost: $2.2billion

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New Links Added July 2008

Posted in california, ecosystems, environment, Mother Nature, urban sprawl, wildfires | 2 Comments »

Only Zero Emissions Would Avert Dangerous Warming

Posted by feww on October 15, 2007

The following is a response to an article in the New Scientist titled Zero emissions needed to avert ‘dangerous’ warming. The response was submitted by The Management School of Restorative Business. The original article is posted below.

RE: Zero emissions needed to avert ‘dangerous’ warming

MSRB concurs with the overall conclusion of the University of Victoria report that the only way to stabilize the temperature is by total elimination of industrial emissions.

However, according to our model, even with the total elimination of industrial emissions effected immediately the temperature would stabilize above 3.2oC probably by 2025.

Further, their timeline appears to be too optimistic. According to our model the global warming “tipping point” occurred in mid 2006, beyond which all changes are irreversible [in the short run.] We expect to experience catastrophic climatic events starting by 2009-2010. By as early as 2015, we believe dramatic ecosystems collapses including ozone holes, global heating, extreme climatic events, toxic pollution, depletion of food and natural resources, unethical conduct, war and disease pandemics would result in the depopulation of most of our population clusters.

The world entered a double exponential* phase in 1980, when Earth’s “torching energy,” exceeded 9.51 terawatts {q[torch] > 9.51TW.} According to MSRB model the countdown toward the Earth’s “Terminal Energy” had started. The q[torch] for the first half 2007 averaged at 16.8TW. See and

*[Note: Double exponential functions grow even faster than exponential functions.]

Apart from the obvious political reasons, most climate models are fundamentally flawed because they (i) use tired old formula to “predict” the future changes based on empirical analysis, (ii) base their calculations on the “official” data, (iii) are “one-dimensional” and therefore unable to model accurately or forecast the behavior of sophisticated, highly interdependent systems such as Earth’s ecosystems.

The best [and the only intelligent] course of action on global and national levels would be an immediate “powerdown” to the “safe” energy consumption levels of about 60EJ, while allocating most of the resources to creating low-energy communities that provide food, shelter, education and safety for as many people as possible.

The Management School of
Restorative Business (MSRB)

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Original Article:
Zero emissions needed to avert dangerous warming
16:56 11 October 2007 news service
Catherine Brahic

Only the total elimination of industrial emissions will succeed in imiting climate change to a 20C rise in temperatures, according to omputer analysis of climate change. Anything above this target has been identified as “dangerous” by some scientists, and the limit has been adopted by many policymakers.

The researchers say their study highlights the shortcomings of governmental plans to limit climate change.

A warming of 20C above pre-industrial temperatures is frequently cited as the limit beyond which the world will face “dangerous” climate change. Beyond this level, analysis suggests the continents will cease to absorb more carbon dioxide than they produce. As the tundra and other regions of permafrost thaw, they will spew more gas into the atmosphere, adding to the warming effect of human emissions.

The end result will be dramatic ecological changes, including widespread coastal flooding, reduced food production, and widespread species extinction.

Established model

In January 2007, the European Commission issued a communication stating that “the European Union’s objective is to limit global average temperature increase to less than 20C compared to pre-industrial levels”.

Andrew Weaver and colleagues at the University of Victoria in Canada say this means going well beyond the reduction of industrial emissions discussed in international negotiations.

Weaver’s team used a computer model to determine how much emissions must be limited in order to avoid exceeding a 20C increase. The model is an established tool for analysing future climate change and was used in studies cited in the IPCC’s reports on climate change.

They modelled the reduction of industrial emissions below 2006 levels by between 20% and 100% by 2050. Only when emissions were entirely eliminated did the temperature increase remain below 20C.

A 100% reduction of emissions saw temperature change stabilise at 1.50C above the pre-industrial figure. With a 90% reduction by 2050, Weaver’s model predicted that temperature change will eventually exceed 20C compared to pre-industrial temperatures but then plateau.

Stark contrast

The researchers conclude that governments should consider reducing emissions to 90% below current levels and remove what is left in the atmosphere by capturing and storing carbon (see Chemical ‘sponge’ could filter CO2 from air).

There is a stark contrast between this proposal and the measures currently being considered. Under the UN’s Kyoto protocol, most developed nations have agreed to limit their emissions to a minimum of 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. What happens beyond this date is the subject of ongoing debate and negotiation.

The European Union nations have agreed to limit their emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and support dropping global emissions to 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.

“There is a disconnect between the European Union arguing for a 20C threshold and calling for 50% cuts at 2050 – you can’t have it both ways,” says Weaver, who adds: “If you’re going to talk about 20C you have got to be talking 90% emissions cuts.”

Vanishing point

Tim Lenton, a climatologist at the University of East Anglia in the UK, agrees that even the most ambitious climate change policies so far proposed by governments may not go far enough. “It is overly simplistic assume we can take emissions down to 50% at 2050 and just hold them there. We already know that that’s not going to work,” he says.

Even with emissions halved, Lenton says carbon dioxide will continue building up in the atmosphere and temperatures will continue to rise. For temperature change to stabilise, he says industrial carbon emissions must not exceed what can be absorbed by Earth’s vegetation, soil and oceans.

At the moment, about half of industrial emissions are absorbed by ocean and land carbon “sinks”. But simply cutting emissions by half will not solve the problem, Lenton says, because these sinks also grow and shrink as CO2 emissions change.

“People are easily misled into thinking that 50% by 2050 is all we have to do when in fact have to continue reducing emissions afterwards, all the way down to zero,” Lenton says.

Journal reference: Geophysical Research Letters ( DOI: 0.1029/2007GL031018 )

Fair Use Notice: See Article 107, CHAPTER 1, TITLE 17 of U.S. Copyright Code

Posted in collapse, double exponential phase, ecosystems, environment, fossil fuels, Global Warming, lifestyle, Zero emissions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Eco Tourism?

Posted by edro on September 28, 2007

Eco-Tourism Is an Oxymoron!

Compare healthy smoking, environmentally-friendly SUVs, safe malignant cancer…

Eco-tourism is growing at a phenomenal rate stressing the environment, damaging fragile ecosystems and destroying endangered species. Eco-tourism is the gang-rape of the environment under the “green” flag.

Basic ecological facts:

1. Human activities degrade ecosystems.
2. Intensive human activities destroy ecosystems.
3. After warfare, tourism [euphemistically referred to as eco-tourism,] is the most destructive human activity. ~ EDRO

Posted in eco tourism, ecosystems, environment, human activity, Travel | 8 Comments »