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Published: Saturday 03 August, 2013

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Global warming is driving forest fires in northern latitudes to burn more frequently and fiercely, contributing to the threat of runaway climate change, according to a study.

Increased intensity of fires in Alaskas vast interior over the last decade has changed the region from a sink to a source of carbon dioxide, the greenhou concealed wedge trainers se gas most responsible for heating up the planet, the study released on Sunday found.

This is carbon that has accumulated in ecosystems a little bit at a time for thousands of years, but is being released very rapidly.

While the study, published in Nature Geoscience, focused on Alaskas 18.5 million hectares of forests, its conclusions likely apply to huge expanses of wilderness in Siberia, Canada and northern Europe as well.

Outofcontrol fires ravaged more than a million hectares in Russia earlier this year, destroying whole villages and leaving more than 50 people dead.

Runaway climate change

The shift of subarctic forests and peatlands from a CO2absorbing sponge to a net source of the gas means these regions could help trigger accelerated global warming, the study warned.

Essentially, it represents a runaway climate change scenario in which warming is leading to larger and more intense fires, releasing more greenhouse gases and resulting in more warming, said Turestsky.

The same viciouscircle effect what scientists call positive feedback is true of the shrinking Arctic ice cap, which has likewise become both symptom and cause of climate change.

In the study, Turetsky and colleagues examined nearly 200 forest and peatland sites in Alaska shortly after blazes were extinguished to measure how much biomass had burnt.

The amount of scorched earth has doubled in interior Alaska over the last 10 years, mostly because of increased burning late in the fire season, they found.

By weeks end, the UN forum could announce measures to slow tropical deforestation, which both releases CO2 and shrinks th concealed wedge trainers e biomass that soaks it up.

The destruction of equatorial forests in Latin America, Asia and Africa accounts for 12 to 15 per cent of the carbon pollution released into the atmosphere each year, according to recent calculations.

Boreal forests, however, have received scant attention at the talks.

Carbon pollution carried by the wind has no national boundaries Russia, Japan and Canada suffer directly from Chinas pollution. India a major developing economy like China is pr concealed wedge trainers epared to commit to an enforceable 20% cut in global emissions by 2020,China is not. In the meantime China uses its investment power to buy influence and secure raw material and energy supplies in mainly developing countries and high tech, renewables. medical advancements and commercial property from developed economies concealed wedge trainers