7/5/2023: Mega forest fires mean mega flood risk for southeast Australia

A bushfire in 2012. Credit: bertknot/flickr

Featured research 

Mega forest fires mean mega flood risk for southeast Australia 

Wildfires, which are becoming more frequent in many places due to climate change, are increasing runoff and river flooding in southeastern Australia, a new study finds. This means people living in fire-prone areas may face higher flood risk following wildfires. [Geophysical Research Letters research] 

Tree rings shed light on 600 years of atmospheric rivers along the US West Coast 

Tree records of stormy years are helping put current events into historical context, and point to multi-decade cycles of atmospheric river activity. Recent surges in these storms may fall within that historical variation or be a consequence of climate warming, but researchers say it’s too soon to tell. [JGR Atmospheres research] 

Thunderstorms create more planet-warming cirrus clouds  

Convective storms contribute to nearly 60% of the monthly mean global area coverage of cirrus clouds, which are known to have a warming effect on the planet, a new study finds. A warmer climate would increase the conditions necessary for thunderstorms creating more cirrus clouds and warming Earth’s surface temperature even more. [Geophysical Research Letters research] 

Warmer temperatures increase snow loss off Arctic sea ice 

Snow on Arctic sea ice can be blown into cracks known as “leads,” reducing the amount of snow on the ice’s surface, where it slows both ice growth and melt. Scientists have discovered that if there is fresh snowfall during uncommonly warm and windy conditions, a larger amount of snow will be blown into the ocean. The role of temperature in snow loss may become more important in a future, warmer Arctic. [Geophysical Research Letters research] 

Tracking human carbon dioxide emissions from medium-sized cities 

Atmospheric models, combined with local observations, tracked modest carbon dioxide emission reductions in Salt Lake City during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. These emission decreases coincided with about a 30% reduction in average traffic volume. [Eos Editors’ Highlight] [JGR Atmospheres research] 

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