Smoke From West Coast Wildfires Reaches East Coast, Europe
The EU's climate tracking body, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), said it had detected smoke from the fires over Northern Europe, 8,000 kilometers (approximately 4,970 miles) away from its origin, as an AFP story published by France24 reported.
"The fact that these fires are emitting so much pollution into the atmosphere that we can still see thick smoke over 8000 kilometres away reflects just how devastating they have been in their magnitude and duration," CAMS senior scientist Mark Parrington said in a press release.
CAMS said smoke from the fires first reached Europe last week and is expected to do so again at the end of this week.
🔥#Smoke from the unprecedented #USFires is moving back across #NorthAmerica from the #Pacific and is on its way to… https://t.co/rep440bkfN— Copernicus ECMWF (@Copernicus ECMWF)1600240358.0
Climate researcher Geert Jan van Oldenborgh tweeted Sept. 11 that the smoke had been observed in Holland.
"The smoke from the western US wildfires has even reached the Netherlands..., turning the sky [grey] instead of blue," he wrote.
In its report Wednesday, CAMS also gave an account of the scale of the fires themselves. It said fire activity was ten to hundreds times more intense this year than for the U.S. average from 2003 to 2019. Blazes in Oregon and California also emitted more carbon pollution this year than at any time since record-keeping began. So far, they have released more than 30 million tonnes (approximately 33 million U.S. tons) of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since mid-August, AFP reported.
"The scale and magnitude of these fires are at a level much higher than in any of the 18 years that our monitoring data covers, since 2003," Parrington told CNN.
The heaviest smoke from the fires was trapped over the Western U.S. for days, CAMS noted, choking Pacific cities with the worst air quality in the world. But a change in the weather Monday began to move the smoke east along the jet stream, according to AFP. In the Eastern U.S., Boston, New York and Maine have all reported smoky, hazy conditions, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"Satellite images this morning show smoke aloft moving over much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic," the Baltimore-Washington office of the National Weather Service tweeted Tuesday. "This smoke is obscuring the sun, and will keep temperatures a few degrees cooler today than what would be observed if the smoke was not present."
But just because some of the smoke is moving doesn't mean the West Coast can breathe easy. Portland, OR still had the worst air quality in the world Wednesday morning, according to rankings from IQAir.
The fires themselves also continue to rage. There were 87 burning in 11 states as of Tuesday, CNN reported. So far, the fires have claimed 25 lives in California. In Oregon, as of Tuesday, 10 people had died and 22 were missing.
In California, fires have scorched more than 3.2 million acres, the most on record, burned at least 4,200 structures and displaced more than 60,000 people. Across the West, the flames have consumed nearly five million acres, an area roughly the size of New Jersey, AFP pointed out.
The climate crisis makes larger, intense wildfires more likely because higher temperatures worsen the drought conditions that feed them.
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By Kimberly Nicole Pope
During this year's Davos Agenda Week, leaders from the private and public sectors highlighted the urgent need to halt and reverse nature loss. Deliberate action on the interlinked climate and ecological crises to achieve a net-zero, nature-positive economy is paramount. At the same time, these leaders also presented a message of hope: that investing in nature holds the key to ensuring economic and social prosperity and resilience.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Brett Wilkins
While some mainstream environmental organizations welcomed Tuesday's introduction of the CLEAN Future Act in the House of Representatives, progressive green groups warned that the bill falls far short of what's needed to meaningfully tackle the climate crisis—an existential threat they say calls for bolder action like the Green New Deal.
<div id="25965" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6116a1c2b1b913ad51c3ea576f2e196c"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1366827205427425289" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">BREAKING: Rep @FrankPallone just released his CLEAN Future Act — which he claims to be an ambitious bill to combat… https://t.co/M7nR0es196</div> — Friends of the Earth (Action) (@Friends of the Earth (Action))<a href="https://twitter.com/foe_us/statuses/1366827205427425289">1614711974.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="189f0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa31bacec80d88b49730e8591de5d26d"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1366863402912657416" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">The CLEAN Future Act "fails to grasp the fundamental truth of fighting climate change: We must stop extracting and… https://t.co/yREn6Qx9tn</div> — Food & Water Watch (@Food & Water Watch)<a href="https://twitter.com/foodandwater/statuses/1366863402912657416">1614720605.0</a></blockquote></div>
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- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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