Navigation Links
Atmospheric scientists trace the human role in Indonesian forest fires
Date:2/22/2009

TORONTO, ON Severe fires in Indonesia responsible for some of the worst air quality conditions worldwide are linked not only to drought, but also to changes in land use and population density, according to a new study in Nature Geoscience led by Robert Field of the University of Toronto.

"During the late 1970s, Indonesian Borneo changed from being highly fire-resistant to highly fire-prone during drought years, marking the period when one of the world's great tropical forests became one of the world's largest sources of pollution," says Field, a PhD student of atmospheric physics. "Ultimately, this abrupt transition can be attributed to rapid increases in deforestation and population growth. The resulting occurrences of haze currently rank among the world's worst air pollution episodes, and are a singularly large source of greenhouse gas emissions."

Sumatra has suffered from large fires at least since the 1960s, but Indonesian Borneo seems to have been resistant to large fires even in dry years until population density and deforestation increased substantially and land use changed from small-scale subsistence agriculture to large-scale industrial agriculture and agro-forestry.

"We've had a good understanding of fire events since the mid 1990s, but little before this due to the absence of fire data from satellites," says Field, who collaborated with Guido van der Werf of VU University Amsterdam and Sam Shen of San Diego State University. "However, one of the major impacts of large-scale fires is a reduction in visibility due to the smoke produced. Visibility is recorded several times a day at airports in the region, and these records proved to be an excellent indicator of severe fire activity. We were able to piece together visibility observations back to the 1960s, and hence develop a longer term record of the fires."

Having a long-term record of the fires allowed the scientists to better understand their causes. "Using weather records, we were able to estimate the specific rainfall level below which large fires have occurred in the previous two decades. In turn, we found that the rainfall over Indonesia was influenced equally by the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Nio Southern Oscillation phenomena. Hopefully, this information can be used to better anticipate and prevent future haze disasters in Indonesia."

Field says that there is a direct link between the increased prevalence of severe fires and haze disasters and the man-made change in land use. "The visibility record also showed, quite strikingly, the impact of human settlement on a previously pristine tropical forest. This should give pause to further agro-forestry expansion in Indonesia, particularly for oil palm as a source of biofuel."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sean Bettam
sbettam@artsci.utoronto.ca
416-946-7950
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Worldwide atmospheric measurements will determine the role of atmospheric fine particles
2. Atmospheric measuring device for understanding smog formation
3. Atmospheric scientists gear up for collaborative airborne campaigns
4. Study in Science cites impact of anthropogenic nitrogen on ocean biology, atmospheric CO2
5. US and UK research centers launch major collaboration on atmospheric research, technology
6. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences named Rising Star by ScienceWatch
7. ESA trains next generation of atmospheric scientists
8. Seabird ammonia emissions contribute to atmospheric acidity
9. ESA tests laser to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide
10. Carbon accounting from atmospheric measurements -- the aircraft perspective
11. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Atmospheric scientists trace the human role in Indonesian forest fires
(Date:4/4/2017)... , April 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC , ... that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ... covers the linking of an iris image with a ... and represents the company,s 45 th issued patent. ... is very timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... HONG KONG , March 30, 2017 ... developed a system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground ... technology into a new realm of speed and accuracy for use ... applications at an affordable cost. ... ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... India , March 28, 2017 ... IP, Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software ... Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach USD ... between 2017 and 2022. The base year considered for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... SARASOTA, FL (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Inc. (RPS®) today announces publication of a United States multicenter, prospective clinical ... single use, disposable, point-of-care diagnostic test capable of identifying clinically significant acute ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... any gene in its endogenous context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use ... with small RNA guides is transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... London (ICR) and University of ... tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma (MM), in a ... . The University of Leeds is ... Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the testing services to ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 ... ... cancer-focused pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing ... HPLN (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration with Children’s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: