Although wildfires are still a seasonal affair in Australia and there have been heavy fires in the past, this year's "forest fire season" started abnormally early and is expected to last a lot. months more.
2019 is Australia's record hot and dry year. Last December was one of the two hottest months in the country's history. Experts say the main causes of forest fires are climate change, flammable plants and weather.
Page Phys.org cited the analysis of Chris Field - Dean of the Department of Environmental Studies at Stanford University (California, USA), as well as chairing the international scientific report on climate change and extreme events - for "This situation is basically a terrible convergence of many factors."
According to Chris Field, this is one of the worst climate change extremes , if not the worst he has ever seen. "Forest fires are a symbolic representation of the effects of climate change," said Field.
Agreeing with this view, Mike Flannigan, a fire scientist at the University of Alberta in Canada, said Australia's forest fires were "an example of climate change" . In fact, the Australian Government's 2019 briefing report on forest fires and climate change also acknowledged: "Human-induced climate change has led to more dangerous weather conditions because of forest fires. for decades with many areas of Australia. "
A car is burned down on Quinlans Road after an overnight forest fire in Quaama, New South Wales, January 6 - (Photo: AFP)
While there is no doubt that global warming is a major cause, scientists, including fire researchers and weather experts, argue that climate change is not sole cause.
Last year Australia witnessed record hot and dry weather . According to the Australian Meteorological Agency, the annual average temperature in 2019 is 1.5 ° C higher than the average level of heat from 1960-1990. The temperature in Australia in December sometimes reached 49.9 o C.
In fact, Andrew Watkins, the head of the long-term forecasting department at the Australian Meteorological Agency, admits that weather is a significant factor that makes this year's wildfire season more extreme . The sudden warming of the Antarctic stratosphere in September last year changed Australia's usual weather conditions, resulting in strong winds from mid-October onwards. West, bringing hot air from the continent to the coast.
"With such a dry environment, many fires have arisen due to lightning (thunderstorms caused thunderstorms but very little rain)" - Mr. Watkins explained.
In addition, according to Mr. Flannigan, eucalyptus trees which are common in Australia are also factors that make forest fires more serious. Mr. Flannigan likens them to " flammable gasoline" in the trunk of the tree, with the oil in the trunk, which when caught in the fire makes the fire spread faster. In addition, when the humidity is lower, the air is drier, the fire spreads even further.
According to Flannigan, it is still too early to know exactly the cause of the forest fires, because forest fires have only recently started and all authorities are still prioritizing time to control the fires. .
Although people are a major contributor to fires in Australia, the causes of accidents also occur like short-term fires, fires from vehicles or wires. Although the ends of cigarette butt after smoking usually do not cause fires, but in hot and dry weather, this can absolutely happen.
Flannigan said there was no way to control wildfires . "They will burn in many places until they reach the coast," he said.
Predicting the future trend of wildfires in Australia, Ms. Nerilie Abram - climate scientist at the Australian National University - warned: "The extreme fire season in Australia in 2019 has been predicted.
The question, however, is how badly can we accept this? This is just what happens when the Earth's temperature rises by 1 ° C, do we really want to witness the effects when the Earth's temperature rises by 3 ° C or more, because that's the fund? our religion is caught up in it ".
According to Mr. Andrew Watkins, the drought situation of Australia from the end of 2017 to now is at least equivalent to Australia's drought in 1902. This expert said that this is most likely due to the factors of sea temperature in the Indian Ocean and the trend of prolonged drought. According to Andrew Watkins, the phenomenon of seasonal forest fires in Australia has changed. Accordingly, this season lasts longer than 2-4 months and also starts early, especially in the south and east.