Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Change Threatens Siberian Forests

Date:
August 5, 2007
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Catastrophic forest fire outbreaks in Siberia are happening more frequently because of climate change, new research suggests. In Central Siberia alone, fires have destroyed 38 000 square kilometers in the extreme fire year of 2003. In that year the smoke plumes were so huge that they caused air pollution as far as in the United States. An international team of scientists believes that Siberian fires are influenced by climate change.

Cedar pines at the Khamar-Daban mountain range near Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia.
Credit: iStockphoto

Catastrophic forest fire outbreaks in Siberia are happening more frequently because of climate change, new research suggests.

In Central Siberia alone, fires have destroyed 38 000 km2 in the extreme fire year of 2003. In that year the smoke plumes were so huge that they caused air pollution as far as in the United States. An international team of scientists believes that Siberian fires are influenced by climate change. The study was led by the Professor Heiko Balzter of the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester.

Professor Balzter said "Last century a typical forest in Siberia had about 100 years after a fire to recover before it burned again. But new observations by Russian scientist Dr Kharuk have shown that fire now returns more frequently, about every 65 years. At the same time annual temperatures in Siberia have risen by almost two degrees Celsius, about twice as fast as the global average. And since 1990 the warming of Siberia has become even faster than before."

Global warming leads to warmer springs and causes plants to green up earlier. This has already been observed for the UK. Over Russia the scientists found similar trends towards an earlier spring.

The scientists observed 18 years of satellite images of the region, and estimated the timing of the onset and end of the growing season, when the snow has melted and the plants take up carbon from the air during plant growth. From 1982 to 1999 almost all Siberian ecosystems showed an earlier onset of spring. The strongest advance of spring was observed in Urban areas (0.74 days advance per year), Deciduous Broadleaf Forest (0.46 d/a), Forest - Cropland complexes (0.62 d/a), Humid grasslands (0.35 d/a) and Cropland - Grassland complexes (0.45 d/a).

"Central Siberia has a more continental climate. The changes in the timing of spring and also in fire occurrence are linked to temperature changes and a climate pattern that scientists call the Arctic Oscillation" said Professor Balzter. "Towards the East Siberian coast the Pacific plays a more important role, and the El Niño phenomenon together with low rainfall determines what happens to the forest".

In the continental parts of Central Siberia the Arctic Oscillation and corresponding heat waves are thought to control the fire regime, while in East Siberia El Niño conditions and droughts are thought to play a major role.

"Planet Earth is always more complicated than you think", says Professor Balzter, "The lengthening of the growing season that has been described in the scientific literature is a non-linear phenomenon. It is influenced by feedbacks between the atmosphere and the forest, which responds to rising greenhouse gas levels and higher temperatures."

Reference: Balzter, H., Gerard, F., Weedon, G., Grey, W., Combal, B., Bartholome, E., Bartalev, S. and Los, S., 2007,  Coupling of vegetation growing season anomalies with hemispheric and regional scale climate patterns in Central and East Siberia, Journal of Climate 20:15, 3713--3729, doi: 10.1175/JCLI4226


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Climate Change Threatens Siberian Forests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070731191203.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2007, August 5). Climate Change Threatens Siberian Forests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070731191203.htm
University of Leicester. "Climate Change Threatens Siberian Forests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070731191203.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins