September 24, 2023

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Canada’s bumper fire season could be seven times longer due to global warming

Canada’s bumper fire season could be seven times longer due to global warming

Northern Hemisphere summers are marked by devastating fires. In Greece, Hawaii, Tenerife… everywhere, explosions have created disasters, forcing residents to evacuate, catching officials off guard. The most intense event always takes place in Canada. As for its duration, the first fire started in early March; According to its geographical extent, from the west of the country to the east, to the far north; And with the diversity of ovens, nearly a thousand still active, the season reached record highs in this great country.

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According to the latest estimates, about 14 million hectares of forests have become smoke zones, which is equivalent to the area of ​​Greece. The previous record was in 1989, when 7.6 million hectares were burned. Ultimately, 2023 will undoubtedly be doubly disastrous, symbolically “Uncertain and Scary Times”, in the words of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The intensity of this season raises again the question of the impact of climate change on the conditions of fire outbreaks.

In an attempt to answer this question, sixteen researchers from different fields (climate, agroforestry, meteorology, etc.) and from several countries (Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, United States) looked at the subject in a study published on Tuesday, August 22. As part of the World Weather Attribution (WWA), a team of scientists came together to measure the impact of anthropogenic changes on disasters. For the study, which focused on fires in a region of Quebec between May and July, the researchers relied on the Fire Weather Index (FWI), a weather index used by Canadian authorities. FWI is calculated by measuring several values ​​including temperature, humidity and wind speed at a height of 10 meters above the ground. They made calculations from two sub-indices derived from the FWI, one accounting for seven days of the season (called FWI7X) and the other reflecting the accumulation of climatic conditions between January and June (cumDSR).

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“It Could Be Worse”

This method allows teachers to understand the impact of climate. “Meteorological and climatic conditions significantly influence wildfire characteristics at multiple temporal and spatial scales”, They note that these factors are insufficient to explain everything. “Forest fires are complex phenomena related not only to climate, but also to vegetation, land use and human activities. »

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