Australian Fires – A Climate Emergency
Wild bushfires have been ravaging in Australia for several weeks now. These fires have been especially severe in the New South Wales region on Friday. The state declared a week-long state of emergency in response to the escalating disaster.
1.Australian fires and Climate Change
- Australia’s climate warmed by over 1 degree over the past century.Increase in the frequency and intensely of heat waves.
- Key climate driver is a positive Indian Ocean Dipole,causing heavy rainfall and flood in eastern Africa and droughts in south-east Asia, Australia.
- Sea surface temperatures warmer in the western half under in the east.Difference between two temperatures currently the strongest in 60 years.
- There is a drought condition . The rain has been delayed and many experts say the perhaps the situation can only come under control when rains come back in Australia .So the cause are quite too few because the top soil actually is dry and the moisture content is low.ss
- Australians in fire ravaged regions are angry with Prime minister Scott Morrison for playing with the danger of climate change and not doing enough to deal with this issue. He has also argued on the link between fire and climate change.
- Australia is also not on track to meet the goal of Paris agreement as per most analysis even as the country burns year after year.
- Wildfire are regular accurance in many regions of the world in dry season. However climate change factors are driving the bushfires .
2.Effect of forest fires on biodiversity
- Forest fires have many implications on biological biodiversity at a global scale. They are significant source of emitted carbon.
- Contributing to global warming that leads to biodiversity changes.
- At the regional or local level they change in biomass stocks, alter hydrological cycle with subsequent effects on marine system like reefs and impact plants and animals species functioning.
- Further smoke from fires can significantly reduce photosynthetic activity and can be determinant to the health of humans and animals as per the study conducted by the centre for the international forest research in Indonesia.
- One of the most important ecological effects of raging forest fires is the increased probability of further burning in subsequent years as the dead trees topple to the ground and open up forests to drying by sunlight, build up fuel ,etc. The consequences of repeated burns detrimental as it is a key factor of empowerment of biodiversity in rain forest ecosystems.
3.Devastating Impact of Amazon Fires
- The impact of wildfires in Amazon is also expected to come into two phases immediate and for long term.
- Flames, heat from the flames, smoke inhalation are reportedly causing devastating impact on large number of vertebrates and invertebrates. Not only killing them directly but leading to longer term indirect effects such as stress and loss of habitat, territories and shelter and food.
- The loss of key organisms in forest ecosystems such as invertebrates polinators and decomposers can significantly slow the recovery rate of the forest.
- There is also a fear that vulnerable species may become more threatened of facing extinction. Experts are also worried that in longer run the entire ecosystem of burning section of rainforest will be altered for example the dense canopy of amazon rainforest blocks sunlight from reaching the ground but fires open up dense canopy, allow in light and therefore changing the energy flow of the entire ecosystem this can have casting effects on entire food chain.
- Surviving in a transformed ecosystem poses a struggle to many species fire also causing the displacement of territorial birds and mammals which may upset the local balance and ultimately result loss of wildlife.
4.Forest Fires Worldwide
- Hundreds of fires spread across Siberia in summer of 2019 following a particular hot and dry period. Though Siberia is used to wildfire but the scale of 2019 blazes were unusual. As the approximates to several cities were air quality illuminated.
- Dry weather is also destructive causing forest fires in Indonesia ;smoky haze spread to Malaysia, Singapore and the south of Thailand and the Philippines causing significant deterioration n air quality.
- Although wildfires are classified by the environmental protection agency as national disastrous only 10 to 15 % wildfires occur nationally the other 85 to 90% result from human causes including unintended camp and derby fire, discarded cigarettes , naturally occurring wildfires can spark during dry weathers and clouds.
5.Impact of Wildfires ( Australian Fires )
- Fires are major cause of forest degradation that have wide range of ecological, economic and socially impact including loss of valuable timber resources.
- Degradation of catchment areas.
- Loss of biodiversity and extinction of plants and animals.
- Loss of wildlife habitat and depletion of wildlife.
- Loss of natural regeneration and reduction in forest cover
- Global Warming.
- Loss of carbon sink resource and increase in percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere.
- Change in the Microclimate of areas with unhealthy living conditions.
- Soil erosion affecting productivity of soils and production
- Ozone layer of depletion.
- Loss of livelihood for tribal people and rural people as approximately 3 hundred million people are directly dependent on collect of non-timber forest products from forest areas for their livelihood.