"Tundra Fires Become More Widespread"

"Wildfires in Alaska have become more widespread over the past 50 years, according to scientists in the US. The result suggests that Arctic wildfires will have an important effect on the climate in years to come – although whether it will be positive or negative, the researchers cannot say."

"Fires are well known to impact the climate by releasing sequestered carbon into the atmosphere. As the climate warms, scientists expect the number of wildfires to grow – and, as a result, more carbon to be released.

Wildfires are normally associated with hot regions, such as southeast Asia or southern Africa, and occasionally with colder, forested regions. In recent years, however, the occurrence of wildfires in cold regions even without forest has changed scientists' outlooks. In 2007, for instance, a fire around the Anaktuvuk River on Alaska's North Slope burned 1,000 square kilometres of tundra. That doubled in one event the cumulative area burned in the region over the previous 50 years. And in 2010, the Noatak tundra region in northwest Alaska saw 37 fires and the burning of 440 square kilometres."

John Cartwright reports for Environmental Research Web February 21, 2013, about research published in Environmental Research Letters December 19, 2012.


"Scientists Warn of Melting Permafrost If Temperatures Continue To Rise" (Guardian)

Source: Environmental Research Web, 02/22/2013