Lightning-Caused Fires Rise in Arctic as the Region Warms

By Scott Waldman

The trend could worsen significantly in the future if tree cover spreads northward

Climate change is driving up the number of forest fires ignited by lightning, and it's pushing them farther north, to the edges of the Arctic tundra, researchers say.

Lightning-caused fires have risen 2 to 5 percent a year for the last four decades, according to a paper published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change. And as thunderstorms intensify and become more frequent, fires are increasingly occurring in the boreal forests, and even on the permafrost tundra. Warmer temperatures encourage more thunderstorms, which in turn bring more lightning and greater fire risk.

The changes are part of a complex climate feedback loop that is only now becoming more clear to scientists, said Sander Veraverbeke of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the study's lead author. A feedback loop is a series of interrelated phenomena that is worsened by climate change and continues to build upon itself with additional consequences. In the north, fires release more carbon dioxide and methane from the permafrost, he said.

Why Arctic icebergs are heading south earlier than usual

By Murad Hemmadi

How a warmer climate caused icebergs to block a scientific mission to Hudson Bay.



For over a decade, Tim Papakyriakou has been participating in studies of the marine ecosystem in the Canadian coastal Arctic. This year, Papakyriakou and his colleagues were set to undertake a survey of Hudson Bay as part of an effort to investigate the effect of hydroelectricity generation-related river management. “We wanted to see how the Bay [ecosystem] looks, and then use the data to look forward, using models, at how climate change and regulation are going to be impacting [it],” explains Papakyriakou director of the Centre for Earth Observation Sciences and an associate professor at the University of Manitoba.

Scientists call Arctic 'blank space' on world archaeology map More:

Scientists say that 30,000 years ago the level of culture, technologies and hunting skills in the Siberian Arctic was very high



ST. PETERSBURG, June 26. /TASS/. Two archeology expeditions of the Russian Academy of Sciences will continue this year researching Paleolithic discoveries in the Russian Arctic. Head of the Paleolithic Studies at the Academy’s Institute of Material Culture Studies Sergei Vasilyev told TASS the Kola and the Yana expeditions are resuming their many-years’ work in the Arctic zone.

"We continue our two projects on the Kola Peninsula and in the Siberian Arctic," the scientist said. "The Arctic is extremely interesting for scientists - as yet it is a huge blank space on the global archeology map."

Scientists, interested in researching the ancient history of the people in the Arctic, should make use of the modern interest in that region, he said. "Due to the growing interest in the Arctic and to the construction of many facilities, which begins now in that region, archaeologists for sure must participate in that. Archeologists must be there and to do research before construction begins. This is extremely important since the Arctic’s nature and environment are very fragile," the expert said.