Climate research targets Western wildfire smoke

Aug 15, 2013 by Shannon Dininny

Researchers are flying over Western wildfires to sample the thick smoke they emit to study its role in cloud formation and climate.

The data-gathering campaign is intended to help researchers flesh out one of the least understood areas of climate: the role of aerosols, or particles given off by wildfires, and how they evolve over time.

So far, the researchers from Brookhaven National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory say they're finding that the white smoke from smoldering fires actually has a cooling effect on the Earth, while the black smoke from a fire that is burning heavily has a warming effect.

However, wildfires also contribute to by releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide and by burning trees that would normally store carbon.

Explore further: Extreme wildfires likely fueled by climate change

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Climate change and wildfire: Synthesis of recent findings

May 21, 2013

Concerns continue to grow about the effects of climate change on fire. Wildfires are expected to increase 50 percent across the United States under a changing climate, over 100 percent in areas of the West by 2050 as projected ...

New way to identify 'smoked' grapes and wines

Jan 23, 2013

With climate change sparking concern about an increased risk of wildfires, scientists are reporting development of a way to detect grapes exposed to smoke from those fires, which otherwise could be vented ...

Extreme wildfires likely fueled by climate change

Aug 01, 2013

Climate change is likely fueling the larger and more destructive wildfires that are scorching vast areas of the American West, according to new research led by Michigan State University scientists.

NASA images: Oregon burning

Aug 07, 2013

On July 26, 2013, thunderstorms passed over southern Oregon, and lightning ignited dozens of difficult-to-control wildfires. Persistently dry weather since the beginning of 2013 had primed forests to burn, ...

Recommended for you

Huge waves measured for first time in Arctic Ocean

1 hour ago

As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water which is predicted to extend across the whole Arctic Ocean before the middle ...

New research reveals Pele is powerful, even in the sky

7 hours ago

One might assume that a tropical storm moving through volcanic smog (vog) would sweep up the tainted air and march on, unchanged. However, a recent study from atmospheric scientists at the University of Hawai'i ...

Image: Wildfires continue near Yellowknife, Canada

7 hours ago

The wildfires that have been plaguing the Northern Territories in Canada and have sent smoke drifting down to the Great Lakes in the U.S. continue on. NASA's Aqua satellite collected this natural-color image ...

Excavated ship traced to Colonial-era Philadelphia

8 hours ago

Four years ago this month, archeologists monitoring the excavation of the former World Trade Center site uncovered a ghostly surprise: the bones of an ancient sailing ship. Tree-ring scientists at Columbia ...

User comments : 0