Posts Tagged ‘wildfires’

Droughts 2010

Russian Wildfires

Heat wave over central and western Russia causing more than 500 wildfires continue to burn out of control. The capital city Moscow is shrouded in a cloud of poisonous smoke, and the morgues are overflowing as the nationwide death rate jumps 50%. The wildfires has also caused billions of dollars in damage.

The heat wave first started alarming authorities in June, when local officials recorded abnormally high fatalities on Russia’s beaches. At the same time, a devastating drought was withering Russia’s crops. As of July 30, some 25 million acres (about 10 million hectares) of grain had been lost, an area roughly the size of Kentucky — and growing. Then last week, fires that had been ignored for days by local officials began spreading out of control. By Aug. 2, they had scorched more than 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) and destroyed 1,500 homes in more than a dozen regions, some of which declared a state of emergency. Scores of people have been killed in the fires, and in the outskirts of Moscow, burning fields of peat, a kind of fuel made of decayed vegetation, periodically covered the city in a cloud of noxious smoke, making it painful to breathe in parts of the Russian capital. Read more >

” Last month, Russia endured the hottest July ever recorded since records began 130 years ago. The intense heat and drought affecting central Russia has been drying out trees and peat marshes, which have been catching fire recently, burning forests, fields and houses across a massive region. To date, wildfires continue across over 300,000 acres.”  See more big pictures from boston.com Temperature has exceeded the long-term average by 7.8° C in Russia (compared to the previous record in July 1938 with 5.3° C above average). Record high temperatures varying between 35° C and 38.2° C were registered for more than 7 consecutive days end July, with the heatwave continuing into August. The daily temperature of 38.2° C on 29 July was the highest ever in Moscow (compared to a long-term average of approximately 23° C). The minimum temperature of nearly 25°C (recorded during the night before sunrise) also scored a significant increase compared to the historical average of about 14° C. Those temperatures are characteristic for a heatwave of a rare intensity and duration.
For related information: Research on reactive gases
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Those droughts are also a part of our future and the future of planet Earth.

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The future of planet Earth


If the world remains as it is, with our destructive environmental trends, then the quality of everybody’s life will rapidly deteriorates.

The most important negative trends nowadays are overpopulation; deforestation; desertification; air, water and land pollution; and subsequently climate change. Global warming is now widely accepted as a reality not only by scientists and those who are a little smart, but even by governments and industry leaders.

But is not a bit too late?

It’s later than we think!

Everybody have to accept, that our planet’s prospects for environmental stability are even worse than before. People cause global warming. It is no matter how much civilization slows or reduces its greenhouse gas emissions – global warming and sea-level rise will continue for centuries. This is not something we can just stop. We’re just going to have to live with it.

”The point here is to highlight what will happen if we don’t do something and what will happen if we do something,” said another author, Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona. I agree with Mr. Overpeck. “I can tell you if you decide not to do something the impacts will be much larger than if we do something.”

Scientists predicts the global average temperature could increase by 2 to 11 degrees by “2100” and that sea levels could rise by up to 3 feet. They even speculated that a slight increase in Earth’s rotation rate could result, along with other changes, in glaciers to disappear. Longlasting floods will hit some areas, while intense drought will hit other areas. Humans will face water shortages, while famine and disease will also be everywhere. Earth’s landscape will radically transform and a quarter of plants and animals will face the risk of extinction.

It is not happening already?

Slowly but surely, this becomes a reality, because these changes can be seen today.

More of the world’s population now lives in cities than in rural areas, changing patterns of land use. The world population surpasses 6.8 billion todays. In developing countries, the urban population will soon more than double  and the urban populations of developed countries may also increase and world population can easy reach 7 billion people by 2012 or even 8 bilion by 2020.

Global oil production can reach the top soon and once this peak (Hubbert’s Peak) is reached, the global oil production will begin irreversible decline, possibly triggering a global recession, food shortages and conflicts between nations over dwindling oil supplies.

Flash floods will very likely increase across all parts of Europe. Less rainfall could reduce agriculture yields by up to 50 percent in some parts of the world. Heat-related nad and cold-related deaths, Diarrhea-related diseases and HIV will likely increase everywhere and not only in low-income parts of the world.

World coral reefs will likely be lost as a result of climate change and other environmental stresses. Warming temperatures will cause temperate glaciers to disappear. The Arctic Sea could be ice-free in the summer, and in winter the ice depth may shrink drastically. Small alpine glaciers will very likely disappear completely, and large glaciers will shrink or could be gone as well.

As glaciers disappear and areas affected by drought increase, electricity production for the world’s existing hydropower stations will decrease. Hardest hit will be Europe, where hydropower potential is big. Warmer, drier conditions will lead to more frequent and longer droughts, as well as longer fire seasons, increased fire risks, and more frequent heat waves. While some parts of the world dry out, others will be inundated. A combination of global warming and other factors will push many ecosystems to the limit, forcing them to exceed their natural ability to adapt to climate change.

Interesting links:

Debra Costner’s article celebrating “40 years after the start of Earth Day”