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Author Topic: Is The pollution from California fires are contributing to glbal warming?  (Read 10630 times)

Offline Atomic-S

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Global warming's contribution to the California fires has been discussed. But not discussed anywhere that I have seen, is the contribution of the California fires to global warming. There must be a contribution, because burning vegetation and buildings puts a lot of carbon dioxide into the air.

In view of the unprecedented (in the area) size of these fires, it is worthwhile, as a matter of ecological science, to inquire what magnitude of impact these fires have.  Does anyone know how many vehicle miles would have to be driven to put the same quantity of carbon dioxide into the air, that these fires have?  Does anyone know how many megawatt-hours of electricity would have to be generated by coal-fired power plants to create an equal amount of pollution?

We ought to know these things, because natural events like this could throw off environmental predictions, and need to be taken into account when crafting air-quality policy.
« Last Edit: 25/03/2008 05:49:47 by Karen W. »


 

another_someone

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This is hard on the heals of very heavy forest fires in Greece earlier this year - but then, a few years ago there were heavy peat fires somewhere in Asia - so most years seem have some major fire somewhere.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Now the trees have gone
Roads turn into rivers as people fall and die
The only growth is concrete reaching for the sky
Desert winds blowing fan the mighty flame
Forest but a memory donít even have a name

Ocean level rising, stinks of rotten fish
No longer do they live here or end up in our dish
Seagulls all live inland and gorge upon our tips
Pipelines belch out sewage exposing telltale slicks

Ever since the oil stopped flowing and gushing from the floor
Fresh water is the reason for which we go to war
Tankers held at anchor await the highest prices
Now the tides have turned and water is the crisis
Author: Andrew K Fletcher
 

Offline Alandriel

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That is a nice, if disturbing poem Andrew

Watching the news these last few days made me very sad


Watching the news most days leaves me sad ......
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Gald you liked it, it does not register with many people unless they have at first hand been burned by a desert sun and thirsted under it a little.

My suspicions were indeed well founded and I think your photographs are stunningly beautiful. You are indeed a talented person.


That is a nice, if disturbing poem Andrew

Watching the news these last few days made me very sad


Watching the news most days leaves me sad ......
 

Offline Alandriel

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Gald you liked it, it does not register with many people unless they have at first hand been burned by a desert sun and thirsted under it a little.

Nothing like a bit of first hand experience to hone the senses (including appreciation) aye?  ;)

Quote from: Andrew
My suspicions were indeed well founded and I think your photographs are stunningly beautiful. You are indeed a talented person.

You're altogether too kind.  :)

Perhaps one day my pictures will manage to come as close as your words manage to do
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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erm... have those last 3 posts been borrowed from another thread?  ???
 

Offline Alandriel

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All is well again.
Slight technical glitch I suppose quickly fixed by George.
All hail George  ;D
 

Offline Atomic-S

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So if, as was said above, major fires are happening somewhere on Earth frequently, then there must exist an average annual emission of greenhouse gases and other pollution into the atmosphere from these fires. Does anyone have any idea what that comes to, and how it compares to the emissions from man made devices such as automobiles and power plants? Actually, figuring this out should not be difficult if the underlying data is available. You just have to know how many tons of material these fires burn per year, and then making the approximation that this combustion is as polluting as an equal mass of coal or gasoline being burned, that should give you a fairly good estimate of the equivalency of pollution, at least as pertains to carbon dioxide. (For other pollutants, the natural fires would be much worse than man made combustion because it has no emission controls.) ??????????
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Answering my own question: I saw in the Arizona Daily Star recently that it is estimated that natural fires account on the average for about 5% of carbon dioxide pollution worldwide.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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This will soon become self correcting when there is nothing left to burn.

Andrew
 

another_someone

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This will soon become self correcting when there is nothing left to burn.

Andrew

Don't see that happening in the near future (although you may argue there is a move from forests to grassland, and grass fires are less life threatening than forest fires).
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Unfortunately with the evidence from the rapidly expanding deserts there is nothing left to burn in these areas and even on the odd occasion that rain falls it generally results in even more soil erosion and damage as the remnants of organic material are washed out of the soil leaving behind only sand and stones.

There is a small island near India that was once covered in mangrove forest, it rained there also. Now it is a baron desert and no longer rains, the skulls of the cattle remain there as a grim message for anyone thinking they can carry on regardless of the environmental consequences of failing to protect the soil and ground water. Any Arial shot of the islands in the ocean show clearly that moisture laden clouds are milked by the forest and vegetation. Those same aerial photographs also show cloudless skies above the deserts.
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Here in Arizona we have a somewhat different problem:  Non-native buffelgrass has been taking over the wildlands, becomeing a fire hazard, bringing grassfires to a region that did not previously have them. A perverse consequence of this is that the native vegetation is destroyed because it is not fire-adapted. The government and various organizations are working on trying to control the grass. Standard herbicide is not effective against it, possibly because standard herbicide requires a certain amount of growth activity to be going on at the time of application, and this being an arid area, the buffelgrass may lie dormant much of the time, I imagine.
 

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