Wildfire Smoke in the Sky Over Portland, Oregon.

by dtlange

The climate changed Northern Hemisphere has become a tinderbox of wildfire where everything in the high latitudes now burns.

Boreal forests, plants, birds, animals, tundra, permafrost, and the rest now easily incinerate.

Tons of ash and soot float in the atmosphere before falling to land resulting in a black coat of heat absorbing ashy soot.

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Smoke from many wildfires in Siberia is seen from Portland, OR. in this photo looking west northwest and towards the setting sun April 17, 2015.

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Here is the same view at sunset on August 13, 2015. Siberia still burns, as well as other parts of Russia. But there are also wildfires burning millions of acres of Alaska, Western Canada, and many parts of the Pacific Northwest including a rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Smoke and ash from the different fires can be seen in various levels of a somewhat still atmosphere.

PHOTOS: DT LANGE CC 4.0

For some background and perspective on the forces of these fires and smoke plumes, I turn to NASA’s Earth Observatory:
Color bar for High-Latitude Forest Fires Behave Differently in North America and Eurasia

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acquired January 1, 2003 – December 31, 2013

In the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere, much of the landscape is covered by boreal forest, or taiga. These regions are incredibly rich in organic matter (carbon), and they are also prone to intense fires that can send smoke thousands of miles downwind.

These evergreen forests make up one-third of Earth’s forested area, so their fires play an important role in regional and global climate patterns. That role is evolving as the world warms.

In new research published in Nature Geoscience on February 2, 2015, scientists described how fires burn differently in the northern tier of North America compared to the northern tier of Eurasia despite very similar conditions. Combining ten years of satellite data with computer models and ground-based observations, the researchers found that boreal forest fires in North America spread faster, burn hotter and longer, send smoke higher into the atmosphere, and kill more trees than fires in Eurasia. This satellite view aligns with previous ground-based observations that North American forests are more prone to crown fires—which burn from the floor to the tree tops—while Eurasia has more surface fires.

Link: NASA’s Earth Observatory

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