"Study Shows Global Forest Fires Doubled in Past 20 Years Due to Climate Change"


A new study published on Monday showed that the number of forest fires, which are the most destructive and polluting, has doubled worldwide over the past twenty years due to the increase in Earth's temperature caused by human activity. According to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat website, researchers used satellite data to study around 3,000 forest fires with "huge radiative power" - the amount of energy emitted from radiation - between 2003 and 2023, and found that their frequency increased by a factor of 2.2 during this period.

Particularly affected are the temperate pine forests in the western United States, and the northern forests covering Alaska, northern Canada, and Russia, which have seen an increase in the occurrence of such fires by 11 and 7 times respectively. Looking at the twenty most deadly fires each year, their cumulative radiative power has also more than doubled, at a rate that "appears to be accelerating," according to a study published in the journal "Nature Ecology & Evolution".

Calum Cunningham, the lead author of the study from the University of Tasmania in Australia, stated: "I expected an increase, but the rate of increase raised my concern." He added, "The effects of climate change are no longer something for the future, we are witnessing evidence of a warm and dry climate today," calling for better forest management practices.

The study found that the six most intense years in terms of forest fire frequency and recurrence have been recorded since 2017. Confirming this trend, the latest year studied, 2023, witnessed the "most violent forest fires" during the period under review. Intense fires occur due to increasing drought resulting from rising global temperatures.

During their growth, forest cover absorbs carbon dioxide, but it is released back into the atmosphere when plants burn, exacerbating the warming of the Earth caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Cunningham stated that this leads to "rebound effects".

Furthermore, the researcher confirmed that with these fires, "smoke plumes cross wide areas negatively affecting health and leading to an increase in premature deaths." His study cites works revealing that air pollution from massive fires in Indonesia in 2015 led to the death of 100,000 people.

Sara Riyad
By : Sara Riyad
Tughayyat Riyad is professional journalist and editor scine 2018 , graduated from the University of Dubai in the Department of Journalism I write in several fields work - entertainment - sports - health - science TughayyatRiyad@elalamimedia.com

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