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Boreal Forest Fires In Canada Have Great Impact On Global Climate

First Posted: Jul 11, 2016 05:36 AM EDT
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The Boreal forest fires in Canada that began in early May are still ravaging the woods. These can affect the global climate, according to NASA study and Forrest Hall. The fires consume millions of acres of trees and burn the soil on the forest floor.

Peter Griffith, the founding director of NASA's Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office explained that these forests matter to the rest of humans on Earth because of how they help control climate by keeping carbon in the soil and in the trees and out of the atmosphere. He further explained that where the fires are getting bigger and happening more often. These impact the world. He added that it's laying more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere that would have remained locked up for perhaps hundreds of years.

The Boreal fires can affect the climate in two ways, according to Forrest Hall. These include changing the carbon balance and changing the Earth's radiant energy balance. Hall monitored that for the past 7,000 years, the boreal forest floor has been generating carbon at a rate of about 30 grams (or roughly 1 ounce) per square meter per year. They stated that when you walk in the boreal forest, you can accurately go from ankle deep in over your head in carbon litter.

The boreal carbon cycle is structured by the rate of plant growth, the rate of decomposition of dead biomass, the rate of formation of frozen soil, which is called permafrost and the frequency and intensity of fires, which release carbon, methane and aerosol particles into the atmosphere. According to a new study, for every degree of global warming, the forest needs a 15 percent increase in precipitation to balance the increased drying caused by warming. On the other hand, forests are getting less rain, not more.

National Geographic reports that the forest fires become more extreme and frequent. These create the similar cycle. They are burning the trees and the rich organic soil on the forest floor that serves as a large basin for carbon.

"The warmer the Earth gets, the more fire we get, and the more fire we get, the more greenhouse gasses we get," stated Mike Flannigan, the director of the Western Partnership for Wildland Fire Science at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

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