Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/10/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Climate conditions, and not deforestation, seen as most important factor for fire risk in region

There's an insidious, not readily visible threat stalking the Amazon rain forests. "Understory" fires that have previously been hidden from view are now seen on NASA satellites. Scientists say that this type of wildfire in the Amazon rainforest is responsible for destroying several times more forest that has been lost through deforestation in recent years.

Understory fires can damage large areas because Amazon trees are not adapted to fire. Long, slow burn gives way to a creeping death that claims anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the burn area's trees.

Understory fires can damage large areas because Amazon trees are not adapted to fire. Long, slow burn gives way to a creeping death that claims anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the burn area's trees.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/10/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Amazon, rain forerst, understory fires, NASA


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Fires below the forest treetops have previously been hidden from view from NASA satellites that detect actively burning fires.

"Amazon forests are quite vulnerable to fire, given the frequency of ignitions for deforestation and land management at the forest frontier, but we've never known the regional extent or frequency of these understory fires," Doug Morton of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the study's lead author says. The study was published April 22 in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Previous understory fire activity, such as the ones that occurred in 2005, 2007 and 2010 was several times greater than the area of deforestation for expansion of agriculture. Morton says the study goes further and assigns blame to climate conditions - in lieu of the long-believed culprit, deforestation - as the most important factor in determining fire risk in the Amazon.

Fires in the Amazon's savanna areas can burn quickly, spreading up to 330 feet per minute. Grasses and shrubs in these ecosystems typically survive low-intensity surface fires.

Understory fires at the frontier and beyond appear "unremarkable when you see them burning," Morton says. Flames reach on average only a few feet high, visible from the air as ribbons of smoke that escape through the canopy and may burn for weeks at a time.

Understory fires can damage large areas because Amazon trees are not adapted to fire. Long, slow burn gives way to a creeping death that claims anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the burn area's trees. Recovery is also a long and slow, but observable, process.

In order to identify understory fires, Morton and his colleagues used observations from early in the dry season, from June to August. They tracked the timing of fire damage and recovery, which varies depending on the type of forest disturbance.

Areas of deforestation show up in satellite imagery as land that continues to lack signs of recovery for at least two consecutive years. Signs of forest degradation from understory fires, visible in the year after the burn, vanish quickly as the forest replenishes. This pattern of damage and recovery over multiple years provides a fingerprint of understory fire damages in Amazon forests.

Between 1999 and 2010, understory forest fires burned more than 33,000 square miles, or 2.8 percent of the forest. Results also show no correlation between understory fires and deforestation. As the pressure for clearing led to the highest deforestation rates ever seen from 2003 to 2004, adjacent forests had some of the lowest rates of fires.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Green

Hundreds of mysterious galaxies discovered hiding behind the Milky Way Watch

Image of Using the Parkes telescope, which utilizes radio waves to observe space, scientists detected 883 galaxies in the ZoA. A third of the bodies had never been reported before.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

An international team of scientists has discovered hundreds of galaxies beyond our Milky Way. Astronomers from the United States, South Africa, Australia, and the Netherlands say that these galaxies are "relatively" close at 250 million light years away. They ... continue reading


You won't believe how many Americans actually care about global warming! Watch

Image of While a threat to humanity, global warming is of very low concern to the majority of most Americans.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Climate change - or global warming, has a wide range of apocalyptic possibilities - drought, fire, famine and government collapse are promised by the world's soaring temperatures. However, according to a recent poll - Americans just do not care, or express much concern ... continue reading


NOAA caught adjusting temperature data to make global warming worse! But why did they do it? Watch

Image of NOAA: And we would have gotten away with it if not for you pesky skeptics!

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Global warming is probably the most serious issue facing the world today. If global temperatures are spiking, then the world as we know it will change. Even the U.S. military considers global warming to be a major threat to national security. But what if the climate ... continue reading


Here's what a plague of locusts looks like (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of When grasshoppers swarm, they become known as locusts. Their colors and behaviors change dramatically.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Amid news that the largest locust swarm in five decades is devouring crops in Argentina, some people have wondered just what such a thing looks like. Here's what a plague of biblical proportions looks like.  [media id="17873"][media id="17875"][media ... continue reading


Will the symbolic Doomsday Clock move closer to the fatal end? Watch

Image of Doomsday Clock is currently set three minutes to 12.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic visual of the world's impending doom. Once the clock strikes midnight, the world as we know it will come to an apocalyptic halt -all of our own doing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) is ... continue reading


El Nino DISASTER looms for California: 'ATMOSPHERIC RIVER EVENT' possible, could be followed 'VERY LOW SNOW LEVELS' Watch

Image of The ARkstorm scenario has been modeled in California. In 1862, an actual ARkstorm hit the state. Similar, but less destructive storms have hit in 1938, 1968, and 1986.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A long range weather forecast for California predicts the state may be hit by a major El Nino storm next weekend. That storm could be followed by abnormally cold temperatures that could put snow on the valley floor, a rare event for the region. UPDATE: Wednesday, 1/27, ... continue reading


SHOCKING reality facing oceans: Plastic pollution 'equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute' Watch

Image of The ocean is already full of plastic -but more is on its way (LiveScience).

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Everyone has heard of the spread of plastic pollution in our oceans -but how many of us realize just how serious the situation really is? According to the World Economic Forum, the amount of plastic currently dumped into our oceans each year is the equivalent of one ... continue reading


Global warming devours lake twice the size of Los Angeles Watch

Image of A fisherman displays his license. Without any water or fish, his livelihood has evaporated. Bolivia has declared a national disaster.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Climate change may be a debate topic in the United States, but for people who have been impacted by warming weather, it is a harsh reality. This is painfully evident in Lake Poopo, Bolivia, that nation's second-largest lake, which has now dried up to just 2 percent of ... continue reading


NOAA: 2015 officially hottest year on record. -- Skeptics just insist all scientists are lying Watch

Image of According to NASA and NOAA, 2015 was the hottest year on modern record.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

More evidence. There's more proof the planet is warming, and it's not even a debatable subject anymore. According to NOAA, 2015 is the hottest year on record, by far. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Last year was the hottest recorded year since record-keeping ... continue reading


Hey California, love the weather? There's a nasty surprise coming for Californians Watch

Image of A luxury home collapses in California in March, 1998.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Californios have been pleasantly surprised by the El Nino rains this year. The rain hasn't been overwhelming, and temperatures have been mild.  Windows can often be left open all night in many places. There's plenty of snow on the slopes, so skiing is on. It's a ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Thursday, February 11, 2016
  • Is Valentine's Day...? (Take the quick survey!)
  • St. Paschal: Saint of the Day for Thursday, February 11, 2016
  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey
  • Palm Sunday HD Video
  • Stations of the Cross - Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother HD Video
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 2:12-18
12 'But now -- declares Yahweh- come back to me with all your heart, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
1 'Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 5:20--6:2
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were urging you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 10th, 2016 Image

St. Scholastica
February 10: St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict, ... Read More