New Study Reveals An Abrupt Side Effect Emerging from Wildfires

Photo source:  Tom Fisk

Photo source: Tom Fisk

Dry spells of summers and high temperatures can give way to forest fires. It is no surprise, in fact, it happens a lot here in Florida near the Everglades. Some mornings reeked of smoke as it wafts through the air. But this year’s wildfire season has been especially catastrophic. Fires can easily burn up to multiple acres destroying the natural landscape and placing the wildlife in danger.

While some fires are natural, there is quite a controversial stir on the social feeds that point to some forest fires being a product of a man-made procedure for agricultural purposes.

Recently, the plight of the Amazon fire was so large it was viewable from outer space. The Earth’s beloved respiratory system suffered a fiery blow that wiped acres of rainforest landscapes. But the destruction didn’t stop there. It turns out that the fire event induced a side-effect we should take note of.

According to the new research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS, smoke from the forest fires is capable of producing air particles and gases that will have dire climate change implications.

Another research conducted by scientists from Arizona, New York, and Japan, demonstrated that the wildfire burning can create emissions called biomass-burning (BB) aerosol particles that cause serious health and climate problems.

It seems to take on a second-hand smoking effect to a global level.

One type of emission producing a particle known as a tarball: a microscopic burn particle that is common in about 30% of the burn emissions. More research will be needed to further conclude how these tarballs affect and influence climate change.

The study was able to conclude how they are formed within the first hours of a fire formation by observing their size, shape, and compositions. The scientists intend to use this assessment to best determine the impact burn particles can have on the climate on a regional and global scale over time.

While direct help to the Amazon may be difficult, we can support an organization like Amazon Frontlines. The organization is comprised of a team of environmental activists, human rights lawyers, forestry specialists, journalists and farmers that live and work in the western portion of the Amazon. They work to support the plights of the indigenous people and their rights to the land and survival of the Amazon Rainforest. You can sign their petition and/or donate to their charity. Also, they regularly update their Instagram feed with the latest updates direct from the rainforest.

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