Nav: Home

Demographic changes increase the risk of natural fires

May 02, 2016

In many parts of the world, grass and forest fires pose a threat to animals and humans. According to a new study from Lund University in Sweden, while climate change is likely to cause more and larger fires, in the future, more and more people will become directly affected as a result of demographic changes.

Wolfgang Knorr at Lund University, together with colleagues from Germany and China, has studied the correlation between an increasingly warmer climate and various types of natural fires in different parts of the world. They have also studied another, and more unknown, aspect of these fires. According to Wolfgang Knorr, demographic changes will have a major impact on the spread and number of fires, and to what extent they pose a threat to humans.

"Our most important result is that demographic changes can have a greater impact than climate change, in terms of the increased risk. The biggest reason as to why more and more people will be affected in the future is the increasing number of people who live in, or on the border of, areas that are prone to fires", says Wolfgang Knorr.

The study shows that climate change will lead to an increased number of fires in natural environments in North America, southern Europe, central Asia, and main parts of South America. In Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia and South America, population change will lead to a decreased number of fires.

Population movement also means that in some areas there are hardly any people left. This also has effects on the number of fires and how they spread.

"When an area has no human population, there is a risk that the fires increase and are able to spread. Our study shows that climate change is intimately connected to urban and rural planning, showing that the risks can be minimised through effective planning", says Wolfgang Knorr.

The study involved gathering all available global data on natural fires that have been recorded via satellite since 1997. The data was then run through a model using different scenarios of changes in vegetation based on climate change and increased carbon dioxide emissions. The study is published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.
-end-
Article

Knorr, W., Arneth, A. and Jiang L (2016). Demographic controls of global future fire risk Published in Nature Climate Change

Contact

Wolfgang Knorr, Postdoctoral fellow at Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Science, Lund University
E-mail: wolfgang.knorr@nateko.lu.se
Phone: +30 69 920 79 11

Lund University

Related Climate Change Articles:

The black forest and climate change
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
For some US counties, climate change will be particularly costly
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change scientists should think more about sex
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The psychology behind climate change denial
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.

Related Climate Change Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...