Navigation Links
Peat fires could accelerate climate change

This press release is available in French.

Vancouver, B.C. (Wednesday, February 15, 2012) In 1997, a forest fire in Indonesia ignited an area of peatlands that smouldered for months. By the time it was over, the fire had released greenhouse gases equal to 20 to 40 percent of the total worldwide emissions that year from fossil fuels.

But that could be a drop in the bucket compared to future emissions from peat fires. Indonesian peatlands are dwarfed by Canada's. The total area of all peatland in Canada is estimated to be about twice the size of Saskatchewan.

At this week's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, Douglas Woolford of Wilfrid Laurier University will present findings that show how the fire season is becoming longer, and Mike Flannigan of the University of Alberta will highlight the increased risk of peat fires.

During a forest fire, especially in years of drought, peat can also ignite. When that happens, it produces a smoldering, smoky burn that is difficult to extinguish. Peat can grow several meters deep beneath the ground. In fact, some peat fires burn right through winter, beneath the snow, then pick up again in the spring.

A warming climate appears to be increasing the risk of peat fires in the North, according to Flannigan. For example, in 2007, Alaska's Anaktuvuk River region experienced a "tundra fire" fuelled by peat that covered 1,000 square kilometres. Until then, fire had largely been absent from the tundra since the Holocene epoch12,000 years ago.

Woolford's statistical analysis has shown that the forest fire season is becoming longer. Now, climate change models have been used to predict greater risk of forest fires in the future. On top of that, a warming climate means dryer weather, which makes peatlandsrich in legacy carbonmore likely to ignite and release greenhouse gas emissions. This would further contribute to global warming, creating a vicious circle of environmental harm.

Woolford and Flannigan will present their findings at the AAAS session Forest Fires in Canada: Impacts of Climate Change and Fire Smoke that will take place on Sunday, February 19, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., in Room 109 of the Vancouver Convention Centre West Building.

The session will be the subject of a special AAAS news briefing for media in Vancouver on Saturday, February 18 at 2:00 p.m. (PST).

Contact: Mike Flannigan
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

Related biology news :

1. Wildfires cause ozone pollution to violate health standards, new study shows
2. When it comes to forest soil, wildfires pack 1-2 punch
3. Wildfires result in loss of forests reserved by Northwest Forest Plan
4. Atmospheric scientists trace the human role in Indonesian forest fires
5. Research synthesis shines light on several management options after fires in diverse ecosystems
6. Plants could override climate change effects on wildfires
7. Human role in Indonesian polluting forest fires -- Guido van der Werf in Nature Geoscience
8. Spring agricultural fires have large impact on melting Arctic
9. In the warming West, climate most significant factor in fanning wildfires flames
10. Wildfires set to increase 50 percent by 2050
11. Georgia State researcher to use $1 million grant to improve computer models for fighting wildfires
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/8/2015)... Connecticut , October 8, 2015 ... ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company ... creator of the Wocket® smart wallet announces that ... 2015 were approximately $410,000 compared with $113,00 for ... for the 9 months ended September 30, 2015 ...
(Date:10/6/2015)... , Oct. 6, 2015 Track Group, Inc. ... that it has signed a contract with the Virginia ... the full range of sentences under the Department,s oversight. ... the Americas. "This contract with the Virginia DOC will ... US and advances our position as a trusted leader ...
(Date:10/2/2015)... Oct. 02 2015 ... "Enforcing the Law Using Biometrics" report ... has announced the addition of the "Enforcing ... offering. --> Research and Markets ( ... "Enforcing the Law Using Biometrics" report ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... Oct. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: ... engaged in developing and commercializing novel treatments in oncology, ... Dennis Turpin , the Company,s former Senior Vice ... its Quebec City office.  ... Chief Executive Officer of the Company commented, "After a ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... PHILADELPHIA , October 12, 2015 ... alternative to print version for enriched online experience ... media alternative to print version for enriched online ... offers user-friendly, multi media alternative to print version ... a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... , ... NeuMedics Inc., is a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on identifying and ... be administered as an eye drop, announced today it has been selected to present ... place October 25th to October 28th at The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. The ...
(Date:10/10/2015)... , le 10 octobre 2015 Le 8 octobre, ... intégré dans le Registre du Congrès sa déclaration ... pour la sensibilisation autour du plasma (IPAW), qui ... sponsorisée par la Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association ... à : , Sensibiliser l,opinion publique ...
Breaking Biology Technology: