by Eldric Vero
September 11, 2023
This CotD was inspired by the recent Friends of Science Extracts Newsletter article by Bjorn Lomberg “Fear-mongering over forest fires and climate change isn’t rooted in reality” (see link: https://friendsofscience.org/press/fos-extracts/fos-extracts-2023.html). Within the article is a link to the Global Wildfire Information System (GWIS) which is a database related to wildfires in various regions and countries across the globe (see link: https://gwis.jrc.ec.europa.eu/apps/gwis.statistics/seasonaltrend).
Panel 1 This graph which presents the Global Wildfire Total Annual Cumulative Burned Area (TACBA), is a construct by the author utilizing the GWIS database of the main regions of the globe: Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. The yellow shaded trend-line is the global average TACBA for the years 2012 to 2022. The blue line depicts the TACBA for year 2023, and to date, there is nothing out of the ordinary on a global scale (i.e. it is a very average year).
This graph of Annual Cumulative Burned Area (ACBA) per Square Kilometer is the author’s construct to compare wildfires in the two largest forested countries of the northern hemisphere and world – Canada versus Russia. The author has estimated the forested land area as follows : Canada 4.2 million square kilometers ; Russia 8.5 million square kilometers. It is interesting to note that the Russia ACBA historical average is nearly three times higher than Canada. Why would there be such a large ACBA difference in the northern hemisphere forested land considering the similarities from a geographical perspective?
The following graph presents the CBA for the year 2023 to date. So far this year, Russia CBA is at 1.20 or about 27 percent below the long-term average presented above in Panel 2. Canada CBA is at 3.84 which is over 3 times higher than Russia and 6.5 times higher than the previous 11 year average. Are the Canada wildfires of 2023 a natural phenomenon or something else?
“Truth is confirmed by inspection and delay; falsehood by haste and uncertainty.” Tacitus – Roman Philosopher