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The fires were touched off by thunderstorms that produced no rain. The Siberian Times reports that over 1000 people had to be evacuated from their homes due to fire in the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, with its landmass as permafrost and 40% of that area within the arctic circle. States of emergency are also in effect in the Russian Federation regions of Kransnoyarsk and Irkutsk.

Vyacheslav Popov, head of the republic's Forestry Department, said: 'The area of wildfires doubled. There are 37 active wildfires in the republic right now covering the territory of 76,000 hectares. There is a threat to eight settlements in five areas of Yakutia''

'The biggest number if wildfires are here in Vilyui district', said the the local administration head, Sergey Vinokurov.

'They all started at the same time because of so-called 'dry thunderstorms' which we had last week.  

'We had to send helicopters to evacuate people out of the most dangerous areas and bring them to Vilyuisk'.

The town is an administrative capital some 600 kilometres northwest of capital Yakutsk.

As Siberia frazzles in the summer heat, states of emergency were introduced in areas of Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions, the Republic of Buryatia, and three districts of Trans-Baikal region, plus one of the Tyva Republic.

'For the duration of the emergency situation, entering forests is strictly forbidden for the population', and punishable by fines of up to 100,000 rubles ($2,800)', locals were warned in Buryatia.

In the Northwest Territories of Canada, dry and warm weather has fueled over 186 fires of which 156 are still burning according to this report from Climate Central.
Boreal forests like those in the Northwest Territories are burning at rates "unprecedented" in the past 10,000 years according to the authors of a study put out last year. The northern reaches of the globe are warming at twice the rate as areas closer to the equator, and those hotter conditions are contributing to more widespread burns.
The regions just below the Arctic are not alone in the increase and severity of wildfires as the recent wildfire news coming out of the Western states reflects. But the burn rate in the Boreal forests is unprecedented.

Winner of National Geographic photo of the year, 2013.
Grand Prize and Nature Winner
Paul Souders, Seattle, Washington
The Ice Bear
A polar bear peers up from beneath the melting sea ice on Hudson Bay as the setting midnight sun glows red from the smoke of distant fires during a record-breaking spell of hot weather. The Manitoba population of polar bears, the southernmost in the world, is particularly threatened by a warming climate and reduced sea ice.

In this riveting must read piece titled More Wildfires = More Warming = More Wildfires, Chris Mooney describes the wildfire-permafrost feedback loop.

You have this climate and fire interaction, and all of a sudden permafrost can thaw really rapidly," explains Jon O'Donnell, an ecologist with the National Parks Service's Arctic Network. Scientists call it a "positive feedback," and it's one of the scariest aspects of global warming because, in essence, it means a bad situation is making itself worse.

When it comes to understanding the wildfire-permafrost feedback and just how bad it could be, one factor is clear: Wildfires are definitely getting worse. "The area burned by wildfires has been increased quite a bit over the last couple of decades," says Terry Chapin, a biologist at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Indeed, a new study just out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that recent fire activity in these "boreal" regions of the globe is higher than anything seen in the last 10,000 years.

Fires are also becoming more severe, says O'Donnell. Finally, the seasonality of fires appears to be changing, with burns extending later into the summer, when permafrost has thawed more completely—once again, amplifying the overall impact of burning on frozen soils and the carbon they contain.

And here's where the feedback kicks in: Large northern fires don't just burn huge swaths of forest. They can also burn off the upper layer of lichen and mosses on the forest floor. When intact, this forest surface layer insulates the underlying permafrost and protects it from thawing—but getting rid of it takes away that protection, even as it also exposes the area to the heating of direct sunlight.

Plus, there's an added effect: After a fire burns through a region, O'Donnell notes, it leaves behind an area of the earth's surface that is blackened in color. And these dark areas absorb more heat from the sun, thus further upping temperatures and thawing permafrost. As the soil thaws, meanwhile, microbes have a much easier time decomposing its organic matter. "The microbes can start to crank on that carbon," says O'Donnell, adding that the process results in the release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

The Permafrost Tunnel   was excavated from 1963–1969 for the study of permafrost, geology, ice science, and the mining and construction techniques specific to permafrost environments. <>
 The Permafrost Tunnel offers a unique research platform for scientists and engineers who wish to study a frozen environment over 40,000 years old.

Originally posted to Pakalolo on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS, DK GreenRoots, and Climate Hawks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am running late for work and need to dash. (27+ / 0-)

    We need to continue to focus on and fight against Climate Change.

    "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."- Lao-Tzu

    by Pakalolo on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 05:02:31 AM PDT

    •  Kossacks Check Out Glaciation,Mineral Deposit (0+ / 0-)

      & Forestry burnoffs....it's fascinating, & then kinda obvious.

      I've been waiting to hear that this is a thing that is happening for 20 years at least.

      Been kinda busy on other stuff....

  •  Wow. Essentially turning the arctic into... (30+ / 0-)

    ... a giant solar hot water heater as well... we'll all be doing the boiling frog two-step a lot sooner than expected. damn

    Dudehisattva...

    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 05:36:36 AM PDT

  •  INCREDIBLE photo! (12+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the diary.  Excellent.

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 06:10:13 AM PDT

  •  You realize there's another big feedback loop (20+ / 0-)

    that you didn't mention here?

    Increasing areas burned by fire in the far north have multiple feedbacks that amplify warming.

    “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

    by FishOutofWater on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 06:36:52 AM PDT

    •  Yes - soot deposited on snow & ice (12+ / 0-)

      Big positive feedback.

      "Turns out I'm really good at killing people." - President Obama

      by jrooth on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 06:50:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fish (20+ / 0-)

      Everyone knows you know more than we do about most of these issues.  I always rec your diaries when I see them.

      For now, I'm happy just to see this diary make the rec list.

      Sometimes, information overload can shut people off from hearing the message - sad but true.

      If I could tell people one thing today to drive home the point that climate change is real I would simply show people what this diarist has done, i.e., that the northern hemisphere forests are on fire.

      Some people say we should not link specific extreme weather events to climate change.

      I say that is our best message at this point.  Every damn  time another extreme event occurs we need to say it is the result of human-made climate change.

      The Polar Vortex.  The hottest June on record.  The droughts across the world.  Hurricane Sandy in effing October, forgawdssake.  The ice cap receding to the point the Arctic Ocean has become navigable.  

      And of course these wildfires in Siberia and Canada and earlier this year Alaska, even in regions with permafrost.

      I appreciate all the detailed knowledge that scientists have worked so hard to obtain.  It's one reason I go to Real Climate among other hard climate science blogs.  But in all honesty, most people don;t see the problem, or the gravity of our situation, because the messaging has been better on the denialist side.

      I will rec the next diary you or anyone else posts describing in depth the many interrelated causes and consequences of climate change.  We need that side of the equation.  

      But more than ever we need to finding new ways to wake people up to this crisis that never ends, it just doesn't get reported.  The right calls us alarmists. Well, I say we should welcome that label.  We have a great deal to be alarmed about.  

      And just as the scientific research and the in depth articles about how climate change has occurred as the result of human actions and the various feedback loops that further drive us toward a warmer, more unpredictable world, etc. we also need people shouting from the rooftops with short simple messages that can resonate with so many people who are confused or on the fence about climate issues, or who have bought into the lies and obfuscation from the deniers.

      Are you a hunter?  The animals you hunt are being driven to extinction by climate change.

      Are you a farmer?  The droughts and floods of epic - indeed, more than biblical - proportions are caused by climate change.

      Live in the Sun Belt - the increase in number and severity of tornadoes comes from climate change.

      And yes - the northern hemisphere is on fire because of climate change.

      We need those emotional appeals to hit home before many people will even consider listening to the science that explains the underlying mechanisms and drivers of our changing climate.

      Sorry if this got turned into a bit of a rant.  Re-reading it, I feel it comes across as if I am upbraiding you for your comment, when that was not my intent.

      I so value your contributions here, I can't tell you how much.  And my rant was not so much directed at your comment, as triggered by it, due to my own frustration with the fact that even as the evidence mounts beyond any reasonable doubt, we see less and less urgency among the media, our governments and, unfortunately far too many people, to take any of the steps needed to address this crisis.

      And I firmly believe that if we don't start taking significant steps soon to address the crisis, we may be one of the species that will suffer the fate of extinction, or if not extinction, than a century of death unprecedented in human history that will vastly exceed any of the horrors of the prior century.

      "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

      by Steven D on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 07:22:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Climate change (0+ / 0-)

        And much of the climate change is due to intentional weather modification.

      •  A lot of the deniers mindset is (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SeaTurtle, JuliathePoet, Pakalolo

        That this is god's will and that you can't go against it.

      •  I agree (8+ / 0-)

        It is almost impossible to be alarmist with this issue, unless you go all "The Day After Tomorrow" on it.  It is probably the greatest problem to face humanity in the last 10,000 years.  
        I like to put it this way.  Over the entire earth's history, the climate hasn't been much more stable than it has been for the last 10,000 years.  This stability is really an outlier on this grand scale.  10,000 years ago happens to also be when humans started civilization and their dominance on the globe.  Humans have been around for about 1,000,000 years.  Why did civilization not start 20,000 years ago?  Or 30,000 years ago?  
        10,000 years ago is also when agriculture started.
        Coincidence?  

        Basically this: Civilization needs agriculture.  Agriculture needs a stable climate.  Civilization has not existed outside of a stable climate.   Our climate is becoming unstable.  

        I have also heard denialists/tea partiers say the following:  Even if the ocean rises 1000 feet, why would anyone want their freedom to be taken away from them?  

        Frankly, while rising oceans are a long term concern, I really don't think that is what we should fear from climate change at this point.    Personally, I'm more concerned about the jet stream.  The jet stream drives the weather.  The jet stream seems to have increased its extreme configurations over the last decade or longer.  This has led to extreme weather.  If this is just the start, what if the extreme configurations double, triple, quadruple, change by 10 fold...100 fold.  
        That is the opposite of stable.  And you can't have human  civilization on this planet without climate stability, no matter how much confidence you have in humanity.  AND if civilization falls, it may not be able to come back until a new period of climate stability.  

        •  good explanation, 110th Monkey (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pakalolo, JuliathePoet

          Addressed to Pope Francis: "Don't tell me what you believe........show me what you DO ........and I will tell you what you believe." (~Meteor Blades)

          by SeaTurtle on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 10:36:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I confine myself to rebuttal (0+ / 0-)

            on the Pope: "Francis: A Pope for Our Time" The Definitive Biography incisively chronicles Pope Francis' ancestry, youth, call to faith, humble beginnings with the Society of Jesus, and rise through Argentina's ecclesiastical ranks, all the way to the Vatican. The book emphasizes His Holiness' Jesuit background of humility, poverty, and service that stands to reform the Vatican's long history of lavish excess. The book illustrates Pope Francis' pastoral commitment to society's most underprivileged and disenfranchised."

            I believe in the general premise that actions speak louder than words as phrased. I just want to assure others who read this comment that Pope Francis has ignited those who know him by his actions that his behavior needs no defense.

            Read and heed.
            aures lupi

      •  Yes, and yet (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pakalolo

        the deaths of about 300 people in a downed jetliner, and the deaths of way too many Palestinian civilians caught between Hamas and the Israeli military, are all you hear about on "serious" news.  And most people disregard even that in favor of keeping track of what their favorite celebrities are up to.

        BTW, one suspects that the Gaza strip may well be under water 100 years from now.  But while the rockets are flying and the tanks are rolling, no one worries about that.  Talk about short attention spans!

      •  Almost November as I recall. 10-31? (0+ / 0-)
        Hurricane Sandy in effing October

        "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."- Lao-Tzu

        by Pakalolo on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 04:47:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Meanwhile, here in Georgia we've had (9+ / 0-)

    a hot Spring, but a relatively cool Summer. Our rainfall is near "normal", but that's after 10 years of extended drought. Wetlands have dried and only fill after large amounts of rain.

    I wish the Koch brothers would shut up and let us get on with solar and wind.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 06:57:33 AM PDT

    •  Total rainfall is near normal (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lily O Lady, corvo, Pakalolo, LakeSuperior

      but it tends to arrive in the northern part of the state in huge rains,  2" in one day last week, which is about 1/3 of a typical July rainfall total.  And more days in the 70's in the northern part of the state following a weekend  and early part of the week predictied to be in the 90's.  But I guess it beats no rain at all and two months with daily highs in the 90s.

      •  While south of Alanta, we remain dry or (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jfromga, Pakalolo

        maybe get drizzle while some areas to the north flood. And temps vary widely because the rain cools the air up north while we swelter.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 07:31:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  When will we reach the tipping point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cowdab, Pakalolo

    when the fact of global warming is no longer in dispute?

    It can only happen when Fox News actually becomes fair and balanced about climate news.

    In other words, when Republicans wake up and smell the destruction.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 07:13:11 AM PDT

    •  Which tipping point? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pakalolo, sendtheasteroid

      There is the one when people  across the board waken to smell the heat and the other one is when the planet  says it is at the saturation point for greenhouse gas and air/water pollution.

      Here's hoping I'm wrong, I believe that we are already in an irreversible downhill slide toward mass extinction.  The human species may survive and I don't want to be among them.  It will be a very ugly process.

      "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

      by cowdab on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 08:44:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Agree, Sadly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pakalolo

        If you put all the changes together, they add up to ever- accelerating global climate change.  We started the train moving; it's picking up speed, and now I'm afraid it's too late to put on the brakes.  I think the latest news on the tundra--both fires and release of methane gas---well, it's hard to think of ways to stop this in time.  It's changing faster than we can adapt or exploit (methane) it. Please, World, prove me wrong!

        I also agree that I'd rather be one of those who don't survive.

        Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

        by sendtheasteroid on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 03:58:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You and me both (0+ / 0-)

        I think we're past the tipping point - there is no stopping it now.  Just not sure how much we can do to minimize the impact 30 years from now.  We must still try.

        But I hope I'm long gone.  Have even wondered if some brave souls might need to start a "we're outta here" movement when things get to that point.  But a global catastrophe of some kind will likely do it for us.

        Still trying to figure it all out

        by CindyV on Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 09:30:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is no argument about climate change. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pakalolo, Steven D

      There is 99% agreement between scientists that climate change is happening and is human caused. Climate change is a fact.

      Allowing rebuttal of that fact and reality on "news" channels is not balanced reporting. It's reprehensible to allow people to think there are two sides to the fact of climate change.

      BTW, we have reached several tipping points already...400ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere is just one.

      A fo ben, bid bont. - Welsh proverb. ( translation: If you want to be a leader, be a bridge.)

      by Gwennedd on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 02:40:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What are we at? Something like a .5 Celsius warmer (7+ / 0-)

    climate right now?

    And it's estimated 2 Celsius is the safe limit?

    And worse case scenarios put the temperature by the end of the century at possibly 4 - 6 Celsius warmer?

    AND we're going to go ahead and start developing tar sands in Utah?

    At least the passengers on the Titanic didn't know they were headed for an iceberg.

    "Humans, just smart enough to develop the technologies to kill themselves, and too greedy or stupid to stop once they knew it" will be our epitaph in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe.

    How do I escape this planet?


    "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandeis

    by Pescadero Bill on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 07:18:33 AM PDT

    •  Seriously? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChristieC, SeaTurtle, Pakalolo, Gwennedd
      AND we're going to go ahead and start developing tar sands in Utah?
      Where are they going to find the water to support this in the already drought-stricken Southwest? That's just crazy.

      Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

      by bear83 on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 07:59:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  PB, you ask THE most logical question re. climate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pakalolo, Pescadero Bill

      change and one I ask myself all the time.

      At times, I think it is the most logical option left:

      How do I escape this planet?
      Paging Elon Musk????

      Addressed to Pope Francis: "Don't tell me what you believe........show me what you DO ........and I will tell you what you believe." (~Meteor Blades)

      by SeaTurtle on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 10:09:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Overwhelmed. That is the reason I think (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pakalolo, Gwennedd, Steven D

        that a lot of people can't wrap their minds around what is really going on with its disastrous consequences.  And utter helplessness to do something about it if they do wake up and actually admit the truth of what is going on.

        Everywhere I look, on almost every front, the plutocracy is making major criminal inroads on our basic human and humane survival and it is mind boggling to know how to fight this many headed hydra.  Because when you chop off one head another grows back. This reminds me of the 'shock and awe' strategy of the Iraq Invasion, so touted as guaranteed to produce submission.  

        I think people feel beaten as the vice grip of economic pressures tighten and feel helpless to withstand the tidal wave of 'big money' that commands the will of the plutocrats, even buying truth.  And right now, their truth is that climate change is not man made or matter.

        A lot of people are exhausted, afraid and don't want to really pay attention to the news, or follow climate change, for example, because it is ultimately depressing.

        It is clear to even me, a non scientest, that that 'magic' day will happen, when the dominoes will start to fall, and then all effin hell will break loose.

        Hardly a day goes by without my thinking about it.  However, the stench of the plutocratic denial is what is choking the atmosphere right now.  Besides, without a coordinated effort, what can be done?

        Recently I just watched two couples move to Costa Rica and Florida respectively and you know the only thoughts I had about that?  Moving closer to the equator is not the way to go with climate change, carefully north perhaps.  But maybe Florida won't suffer the predicted flooding in their lifetimes?  Maybe it won't get hotter?  But it will eventually.

        Do climate scientests sleep at night?  I wonder?  There have been times when all of this floods me and I have a hard time.

        Sooooo..... I get it why folks don't want to pay attention.  If they do, they face helplessness about what can be done.

        If things dramatically changed and the world govts all declared a call to action, I think folks might then wake up because there would be something that they could do.

        But I fear, by the time that happens the cascade of the irreversible would have already happened.

        So, what's a person to do?  I certainly admire those who keep on spreading the word and trying to break through the denial. And I will continue to learn and do what I can.

        But I also understand why folks are finding it hard to wake up to this.  And I mean the people other than the idiots who are climate deniers and think that the Flinstones was an historical documentary.

        end of rant.

        Addressed to Pope Francis: "Don't tell me what you believe........show me what you DO ........and I will tell you what you believe." (~Meteor Blades)

        by SeaTurtle on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 10:34:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yep, we just keep proving that same point (0+ / 0-)

      Our only defense is that we took thousands of years to slowly develop the society we live in.  And we're just not that quick to recognize its failings and make a massive change in direction.  We are, after all is said and done, really just a species of animal, with all the limitations that go along with that.

      Still trying to figure it all out

      by CindyV on Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 09:34:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Disastrous because boreal forest . . (9+ / 0-)

    The boreal forest is far more important in terms of sequestering carbon and balancing the atmosphere even than the tropical forests -- the carbon richness of boreal soils and the generally nutrient poor status of tropical soils sees to that -- and a higher burn rate in the boreal forest in and of itself provides a runaway feedback to climate change.

  •  When permafrost melts it releases... (6+ / 0-)

    ...methane, not just carbon dioxide. Methane has about 25 times the insulating ability of carbon dioxide over a 100 year period (but 70 times over a 20 year period and 100 times immediately after release).

    I've posted this before but it's worth a second look:

    A million Arcosantis.

    by Villabolo on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 09:50:18 AM PDT

  •  What about methane release? (5+ / 0-)

    I'm worried about what these fires mean where the release of methane is concerned.  Furthermore, could a scenario develop where the released methane could feed those same fires?  I know very, very little about the mechanics of all this, I freely admit, but logic would seem to suggest something of this sort could conceivably happen. I find it all very, very scary.  

    -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

    by GulfExpat on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 10:25:38 AM PDT

    •  It does not make sense to only be concerned about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pakalolo

      potential methane release from forest fires when carbon dioxide emissions are the overwhelming majority of greenhouse gas emitted....and yes, a 1000 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions from a forest fire is just as bad for global warming as 1000 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil or natural gas.  

    •  Yes, methane burns very hot. It is why swamp (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gwennedd, Pakalolo

      fires burn so hot.  Put together fire with methane, and peat and you have a situation where fires are very hard to put out or control.  I live in Florida, not far south of the Okefanokee Swamp.  We have had fires in there that have lasted for months.  I witnessed such a wetlands fire across the street from me 2 years ago.  We had a prolonged dry spell, very hot, no rain and the wetlands across from us dryed up.  Our neighbors next to the wetlands had horses.  They had a manure pile in the side of the property, near the wetlands.  Manure piled up builds up heat, add no rain or moisture and hot days of over 90 and spontaneous combustion takes place.  We looked out the window to see flames shooting up the pine and cyprus trees.  We called the fire department, they came and fought the fire, kept it contained to 5 acres, away from us.  The land under that fire was still wet, just not really wet like it is now (at least knee deep) and for months after the fire department came every day to put out hot spots.  The pines all died, the cyprus mostly survived.  Its their territory.  I know the methane in the land contributed to the continued burning of the ground after the other fuel was consumed.  I live surrounded by wetlands.  Our piece was a little island in the middle that was dry.  Even so, one corner is mostly wet, I call it my swamp.  I respect my land, do as little as I can to disturb it.  I would never fill in my swamp, though I could legally since it is not designated as such.  I like seeing great herrons and ibus drinking there, and the sound of frogs.  

  •  And even more of the Arctic will now (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeaTurtle, Pakalolo, Gwennedd

    be covered with ash and soot, meaning the ground will retain more heat, melting the permafrost, possibly releasing a whole shitload of methane, which will raise the temperature of the whole planet.

    But just another day for climate change deniers....

    There are only two types of Republicans: 1) racists; and 2) people who are willing to be associated with racists.

    by hillbrook green on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 10:34:15 AM PDT

    •  Smoke from these fires is being transported by (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pakalolo

      winds heading south towards China and not towards the Arctic.

    •  You said: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pakalolo
      And even more of the Arctic will now be covered with ash and soot, meaning the ground will retain more heat, melting the permafrost...
      Black carbon particles deposited on the surface of snow and ice can play a role in melting ice and snow, but only at temperatures near freezing.

      Black carbon particles incorporated in snow and not on the surface play zero role in any heating until such time that further melting at elevated temperatures at or above freezing render such particles to the surface of the snow/ice.

      Black carbon particles deposited on non-ice/snow-covered soils will not play any role in permafrost melting at all.  

      However, black carbon particles resident in the atmosphere  will participate in radiative forcing that would affect permafrost through greenhouse effects.

       

      •  Qualifier on this... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pakalolo
        Black carbon particles deposited on non-ice/snow-covered soils will not play any role in permafrost melting at all.

        By that I mean on non-ice/snow-covered soils outside of the forest fire burnt area.

      •  Good catch on the wind direction thing. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pakalolo

        So I guess it is more or less a "move along; nothing to see here situation".....

        There are only two types of Republicans: 1) racists; and 2) people who are willing to be associated with racists.

        by hillbrook green on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 11:51:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You said: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pakalolo
          So I guess it is more or less a "move along; nothing to see here situation".....
          A circumstance in which massive amounts of smoke are headed towards China, a heavily populated country that already has massive air quality problems, cannot be described in this manner as most of that smoke will be PM-2.5 and thus an expected cause of air pollution-induced morbidity and mortality.

          Also, assuming that the primary and overwhelming problem here on these fires as to global warming is from methane misses the mark when the fires will be releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide.   Dry wood combustion releases 195 lbs of CO2 per million BTU heat input....almost as much as is released by coal combustion.

          Note the large burnt out area in the top center of this photo:

          http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/...

          While soil heating of permafrost from fires directly over those soils will be able to allow release of methane from shallow permafrost layers, such an affect as a direct and sole consequence of fire events does not extend beyond the fire area.

          •  Hmmm... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pakalolo, delver, Gwennedd

            I was under the impression that methane actually has a far greater effect on warming that CO2.

            From the EPA website:

            Pound for pound, the comparative impact of CH4 on climate change is over 20 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period.
            I'm not disputing your point. Obviously you have knowledge and strong opinions on the subject, but it sounds to me like anything that contributes even slightly to methane release is pretty damn significant.

            I never said that "the primary and overwhelming problem here on these fires as to global warming is from methane". The point I was trying to make is that any process that contributes in any way to increased methane in the atmosphere is a very bad thing. It is my understanding that after the clathrate on the ocean floor, the permafrost regions hold the next biggest amount of methane that is currently not being released at a significant rate into the atmosphere. While it is true that the CO2 from the wildfires is bad for the atmosphere, in the long run I think that release of methane gas from the oceans and the permafrost has a far greater potential for affecting the climate.

            IMHO.

            There are only two types of Republicans: 1) racists; and 2) people who are willing to be associated with racists.

            by hillbrook green on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 12:37:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You said: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pakalolo
              The point I was trying to make is that any process that contributes in any way to increased methane in the atmosphere is a very bad thing.
              There isn't any doubt that methane emissions are bad for global warming.   However, the standard method of reviewing and normalizing greenhouse gas emission sources is to determine and report greenhouse gas emissions as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).   CO2e incorporates carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases.

              A forest fire can directly cause methane release by the following modalities:

              1.  methane release as a product of incomplete combustion of woody biomass in trees that are burnt, or in bog fires.

              2.  methane release from heating permafrost located directly under the fire;  the fire will not be capable of causing such effects in locations that are not part of direct fire exposure.

              3.  methane release from previously burnt areas of permafrost where the fire is no longer occurring but where soil heating is accelerated by both removal of shading from tree canopies and from the effect of blackened soils in previous burnt areas which heat the soils underneath from incident light.

              Nothing about the influences of the present fires alone is capable of causing the release of methane from permafrost located where fire is not occurring -- apart from world wide general global warming influences occurring in that location.

              While it is true that the CO2 from the wildfires is bad for the atmosphere, in the long run I think that release of methane gas from the oceans and the permafrost has a far greater potential for affecting the climate.
              The only way to actually quantify and understand the effects of forest and bog fires on global warming is to analyze emissions on the basis of carbon dioxide equivalents.   Every pound of wood combusted releases about 1.5 lbs of carbon dioxide (figured on dry basis).  For large destructive forest fires a substantial amount of the standing wood will be burnt releasing many thousands of tons of carbon dioxide.  However, the methane release from soils under the fire will be limited by the time of the fire exposure and the heating action will primarily affect shallow layers of these permafrost soils.  

              In this research on permafrost in Alaska,  total soil organic carbon in the first 0-100 cm of soils was found to average 52.4 kilograms per meter squared for the 100 cm layers [thus creating an upper bound on both CO2 or methane release].  Total release of that carbon could only occur only if the soil was completely burnt down to 100 cm, and the total methane release from simple heating would be considerably less.

              [note that burning 54 kilograms of carbon will release 198 lbs of CO2]

              I'd like to compare all that with the amount of carbon in standing timber per unit forest floor area, but I can't find anything just yet at this writing to illustrate that for comparison purposes.  

              •  Correction (0+ / 0-)

                [note that burning 54 kilograms of carbon will release 198 kilograms of CO2]

              •  So (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Gwennedd, delver

                Obviously your opinion is much better than my opinion. Even though you cannot fully quantify your opinion, it is obvious that you have much more time and expertise in the matter than I do.

                Congratulations. It was very pleasant to argue with you about whether my toss-off comment about the effects of possible methane release has any merit whatsoever. I hope you didn't spend too much of your time refuting my two-sentence statement about something I am concerned about.

                I will now proceed to let my mind rest assured that methane gas releases into the atmosphere as a direct result of these fires pose no threat whatsoever because these fires in the tundra are releasing much more CO2 than methane.

                Which was not my point anyway.

                Would it be alright if I continue to voice concerns I have over methane releases that are not directly related to these fires or would that be gauche?

                There are only two types of Republicans: 1) racists; and 2) people who are willing to be associated with racists.

                by hillbrook green on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 02:09:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You said: (0+ / 0-)
                  I will now proceed to let my mind rest assured that methane gas releases into the atmosphere as a direct result of these fires pose no threat whatsoever because these fires in the tundra are releasing much more CO2 than methane.
                  While total CO2 release is likely to be many times the amount of methane released....to the point where the CO2e emission determination would be dominated by the CO2 release over the methane release, I would disagree that a 'no threat whatsoever' declaration could ever be made over any atmospheric release of any greenhouse gas pollutant.
  •  I think I spotted the Siberia fires..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeaTurtle, Pakalolo

    This is NASA MODIS imagery from earlier today.

    Go to the extreme lower portion of this photo, slightly to the right.....red squares are active fires.  Note heavy, extensive smoke.

    http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/...

    This is the next area to the south of the image linked above, and shows many fires and extensive heavy smoke over the entire area:

    http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/...

    If you view the 4 km resolution versions you can see the entire image in one piece on the screen.

  •  Please, goddess, give us economic collapse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeaTurtle, Pakalolo

    It will cause major suffering but IMO is our only hope for survival of some remnant of humans.

  •  I'm at work and can't read through all the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pakalolo

    comments now, so I'm sorry if someone already asked this, but...

    I'm kind of a weather geek but do not at all understand the concept of dry thunderstorms. Heat lightning, yes, but rainless thunderstorms???

    Thanks!

    Why did Desiline Victor have to stand in line longer to vote in Florida than it takes to buy a gun in the USA?

    by mindoca on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 12:21:30 PM PDT

  •  Siberia, 2 days ago (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pakalolo

    http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/...

    Again, smoke transport is to the south towards China

  •  drunken forests (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pakalolo

    Melting permafrost dramatically and adversely affects forests....see the pic in this Weather Underground writeup.

    http://www.wunderground.com/...

    Melting permafrost, soil destabilization and forest soil water saturation lead to extensive forest damages in permafrost areas from physical/mechanical damage that is now occurring in places like Alaska.

  •  My husband was a conservation wildlife biologist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pakalolo, LakeSuperior, Gwennedd

    He said 8 years ago "The polar bears aren't going to make it"
    and it's true as far as I can see.
    What we have to ask ourselves is what species is on the food chain above the large mammals like the polar bears.

  •  Is it just me, or is anyone else out there real... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pakalolo

    Is it just me, or is anyone else out there really starting to feel like it's already way too late for us.

    The human race has succeeded at completely destroying itself.

    The only solution I see is a massive and widespread loss of human life and all the bad things we do to our environment might just save the planet. But other than that... We are living on the last of our very, very borrowed time.

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