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The world needs to prepare for more extreme wildfires: the United Nations

Planetary heating is turning the landscape into a tinderbox, and more extreme weather means stronger, hotter and drier winds to incite flames.

On Wednesday, the United Nations saw a sharp increase in the number of major wildfires around the world due to global warming in the coming decades, and the government is ready for the death and destruction of such huge flame trails. I warned that there wasn’t.


Even the most ambitious efforts to curb Greenhouse gas emissions You can’t prevent a dramatic surge in extreme frequency fire Conditions, a report commissioned by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), concluded.

“By the end of the century Forest fire Events similar to Australia’s 2019-2020 Black Summer and the 2020 Arctic large fires that occur in certain years are likely to increase by 31-57 percent. “

Planetary heating is turning the landscape into a tinderbox, and more extreme weather means stronger, hotter and drier winds to incite flames.

Such wildfires burn in places where they are constantly occurring, and in unexpected places such as dry peatlands and thawing permafrost.

“Fires are not a good thing,” said Peter, a co-author who is an expert in forest fire management at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

“Social, health and psychological impacts on people are astounding and long-term,” he told journalists at a briefing.

Large-scale wildfires, which can rage out of control for days and weeks, cause respiratory and heart problems, especially for the elderly and very young.

Aerial photograph shows real estate burned down in Clearlake, California in August 2021

Aerial photographs show land burned down in Clearlake, California in August 2021.

Recent research Lancet In conclusion, wildfire smoke exposure causes an average of more than 30,000 deaths each year in the 43 countries for which data are available.

According to the assessment quoted in the report, the economic damage to the United States, one of the few countries to calculate such costs, has fluctuated between $ 71 and $ 348 billion (€ 63 to 307 billion) in recent years. increase.

Zombie fire

Major flames can have a devastating impact on wildlife, putting endangered species at risk of extinction.

Scientists have calculated that, for example, Australia’s devastating 2019-20 wildfire has killed or harmed nearly 3 billion mammals, reptiles, birds and frogs.

Wildfires are exacerbated by climate change.

Amplified by heat waves, drought conditions, and reduced soil moisture global warming Over the last three years, unprecedented fires have broke out in the western United States, Australia, and the Mediterranean coast.

Satellite imagery outlining color infrared of the fire line south of Lamedia, Montana, August 2021

A satellite image of the color infrared outline of the fire line south of Lamedia, Montana, in August 2021.

Even the Arctic was previously unaffected by fires, but there was a dramatic increase in flames, including the so-called “zombie fire”, which smolders underground during the winter and explodes new flames. ..

But wildfires will also accelerate Climate changeCauses a vicious cycle of more fires and rising temperatures.

Last year, burning forests emitted more than 2.5 billion tons of global warming CO2 in July and August alone, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS). This corresponds to India’s annual emissions from all sources.

A report edited by 50 top experts called for a rethinking of how to tackle the problem.

“The current government response to wildfires is often putting money in the wrong place,” said Inger Andersen, chief of the United Nations Environment Program.

“By preparing, we need to minimize the risk of extreme wildfires.”


Climate: Summer wildfires emit record amounts of CO2


For more information:
The full report is available here: https://www.unep.org/resources/report/spreading-wildfire-rising-threat-extraordinary-landscape-fires

© 2022 AFP

Quote: The world needs to prepare for more extreme wildfires: The United Nations (February 23, 2022) will be in 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-02-world-brace-extreme-wildfires.html Obtained February 23

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The world needs to prepare for more extreme wildfires: the United Nations

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