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Title    Wildfires Play Bigger Role in Climate Change than Previously Thought
Date    Saturday August 02 2014, @04:43AM
Author    azrael
from the burning-stuff-produces-carbon-dioxide dept.

lhsi writes:

A Stanford engineer's study (abstract) shows the effects of biomass burning on the climate:

It has long been known that biomass burning -- burning forests to create agricultural lands, burning savannah as a ritual , slash-and-burn agriculture and wildfires -- figures into both climate change and public health.

But until the release of a new study by Stanford University Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Mark Z. Jacobson, the degree of that contribution had never been comprehensively quantified.

Jacobson's research, detailed in a paper published July 30 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, is based on a three-dimensional computer model simulation of the impacts of biomass burning. His findings indicate that burning biomass is playing a much bigger role in climate change and human health issues than previously thought.

"We calculate that 5 to 10 percent of worldwide air pollution mortalities are due to biomass burning," Jacobson said. "That means that it causes the premature deaths of about 250,000 people each year."

Carbon, of course, is associated with global warming. Most carbon emissions linked to human activity are in the form of carbon dioxide gas (CO2), but other forms of carbon include the methane gas (CH4) and the particles generated by such fires -- the tiny bits of soot, called black carbon, and motes of associated substances known as brown carbon.


  1. "lhsi" -
  2. "abstract" -;jsessionid=901EE3D79299D018DC9E1A7ABF84F7AA.f02t04
  3. "effects of biomass burning on the climate" -

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