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Here’s How Climate Change is Linked To Risk of Wildfires

At the global scale, burned area has decreased in recent decades, largely due to clearing of savannahs for agriculture and increased fire suppression

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Wildfires
Wildfires can't be prevented, and the risks are increasing because of climate change. This makes it urgent to consider ways of reducing the risks to people. Pixabay

Human-induced climate change has already increased the risk of wildfires globally, researchers say, adding that these wildfires will become more common in future.

In light of the Australian fires, researchers from the University of East Anglia, Met Office Hadley Centre, University of Exeter and Imperial College London have conducted a Rapid Response Review of 57 peer-reviewed papers published since the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report in 2013.

All the studies show links between climate change and increased frequency or severity of fire weather – periods with a high fire risk due to a combination of high temperatures, low humidity, low rainfall and often high winds – though some note anomalies in a few regions.

“Wildfires can’t be prevented, and the risks are increasing because of climate change. This makes it urgent to consider ways of reducing the risks to people,” said study researcher Iain Colin Prentice from Imperial College London.

Rising global temperatures, more frequent heatwaves and associated droughts in some regions increase the likelihood of wildfires by stimulating hot and dry conditions, promoting fire weather, which can be used as an overall measure of the impact of climate change on the risk of fires occurring.

Observational data, published on ScienceBrief, shows that fire weather seasons have lengthened across approximately 25 per cent of the Earth’s vegetated surface, resulting in about a 20 per cent an increase in global mean length of the fire weather season.

“Overall, the 57 papers reviewed clearly show human-induced warming has already led to a global increase in the frequency and severity of fire weather, increasing the risks of wildfire,” said study lead author Matthew Jones from the University of East Anglia.

“This has been seen in many regions, including the western US and Canada, southern Europe, Scandinavia and Amazonia. Human-induced warming is also increasing fire risks in other regions, including Siberia and Australia,” Jones added.

Wildfire, Forest, Fire, Blaze, Smoke, Trees, Heat
Human-induced climate change has already increased the risk of wildfires globally, researchers say, adding that these wildfires will become more common in future. Pixabay

“However, there is also evidence that humans have significant potential to control how this fire risk translates into fire activity, in particular through land management decisions and ignition sources,” Jones said.

At the global scale, burned area has decreased in recent decades, largely due to clearing of savannahs for agriculture and increased fire suppression. In contrast, burned area has increased in closed-canopy forests, likely in response to the dual pressures of climate change and forest degradation.

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“Fire weather does occur naturally but is becoming more severe and widespread due to climate change. Limiting global warming to well below 2 degree celsius would help avoid further increases in the risk of extreme fire weather,” said study researcher Richard Betts. (IANS)

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36% Consumers Would Like Devices to Offer Guidance on Environment: Report

36% consumers want guidance on environment from devices

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consumers
36% consumers would prefer being guided on environment by devices. Pixabay

While nearly half of consumers worldwide see technological innovation as critical to tackling future environmental challenges, about 36 per cent would like their devices to offer guidance on leading a more environmentally conscious life, an Ericsson report said on Wednesday.

Interestingly, consumers who think technology will be crucial in solving future environmental challenges express almost twice the interest in various ICT solutions to help them live more environmentally consciously, compared to others, said the report “Consumers, sustainability and ICT”.

“ICT tools and services can play a significant part in assisting consumer’s daily efforts to reduce their personal environmental impact,” Zeynep Ahmet Vidal, Senior Researcher at Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab and author of the report, said in a statement.

Consumers
Consumers who think technology will be crucial in solving future environmental challenges express almost twice the interest in various ICT solutions. Pixabay

The consumers do perceive ICT as helpful as an aid in their daily life, be it for environmental, health, cost or convenience-related reasons.

“But ICT also has the potential to enable future innovation in climate action, and here the service providers have a unique opportunity and position to provide novel solutions that can aid consumers in making more sustainable choices in daily life,” Vidal said.

The findings of Ericsson’s latest ConsumerLab report is based on a quantitative study of 12,000 Internet users from across the world.

The countries involved in the study include India, the US, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Spain, Russia, South Africa, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, China and Australia. The sample consists of 1,000 respondents from each country.

The report uncovers the current consumer mindset of leading environmentally sustainable lifestyles.

In the last two decades alone, concern about air and water pollution has risen from concerning one in five consumers, to almost one in two, the research showed.

While consideration for climate change and global warming has also risen from 13 per cent of consumers to 50 per cent.

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Global warming has also risen from 13 per cent of consumers to 50 per cent. Pixabay

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The study also includes consumers’ thoughts on where ultimate responsibility lies in mitigating environmental impact.

Globally, 8 in 10 consumers consider governments as being responsible for environmental protection.

While approximately 70 per cent consider that citizens should also be responsible, 5 in 10 expect companies and brands to uphold their share of the responsibility, said the report. (IANS)

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Thousands of Australians Get Killed Each Year Due To Heat: Study

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death In Australia, heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

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Climate change an official cause of death in Australia study suggests. Pixabay

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death after a study published on Thursday found that heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

The study, published by Australian National University (ANU), found that excessive natural heat has been responsible for at least 50 times more fatalities than recorded on death certificates, reports Xinhua news agency.

A statistical analysis found that 36,765 deaths in Australia over the past 11 years could have been attributed to heat, but there were only 340. “Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates,” Arnagretta Hunter, a co-author of the study from the ANU Medical School, said in a media release.  “If you have an asthma attack and die during heavy smoke exposure from bushfires, the death certificate should include that information.

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Excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia. Pixabay

“We can make a diagnosis of disease like coronavirus, but we are less literate in environmental determinants like hot weather or bushfire smoke,” Hunter said, adding that heat is the most dominant risk posed from climate change in Australia. According to the study, excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia.

Hunter said the country’s death certificates must be modernized to capture the impact of global warming. “Climate change is the single greatest health threat that we face globally even after we recover from the coronavirus.

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“We know the summer bushfires were a consequence of extraordinary heat and drought and people who died during the bushfires were not just those fighting fires – many Australians had early deaths due to smoke exposure,” she said. (IANS)

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Risk of COVID-19 Virus Infections by Touching Surfaces Relatively Lower: Reports

Risk of getting infected in other ways such by touching surfaces and objects may be relatively lower

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COVID risk from touching surfaces and objects may be relatively lower, suggests new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. Pixabay

While the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people, the risk of getting infected in other ways such by touching surfaces and objects may be relatively lower, suggests new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

This, however, does not mean that people should stop washing their hands frequently.

“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus,” the CDC said.

Knowledge about how long the virus survives on surfaces is still evolving.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier found that viable coronavirus could live on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for three days and it can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours.

Barely a couple of weeks after this finding, a CDC report said that genetic material from coronavirus was found on surfaces of Japan’s Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after passengers disembarked.

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Is the concept of COVID spread from surfaces a myth? Researches say not much. Pixabay

However, neither of these studies confirmed that coronavirus spread easily on surfaces, according to a report in USA Today on Thursday. The CDC in its guidance also said that the risk of COVID-19 spreading from animals to people is considered to be low at this point of time.

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But it warned that the COVID-19 virus is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. “Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious,” the CDC said. (IANS)