DNR weekend reading: Fiercer fires ahead, mysterious dark lightning, and other science news

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
Children learned proper tree planting techniques at Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, April 25, in Olympia. Photo: Jessica Payne/DNR.

Here are links to articles about natural resources, climate, energy and other topics published recently by universities, scientific journals, organizations, and other sources:

environment360: Fires Burn More Fiercely As Northern Forests Warm
From North America to Siberia, rising temperatures and drier woodlands are leading to a longer burning season and a significant increase in forest fires. Scientists warn that this trend is expected to continue in the years ahead.

American Geophysical Union: Wildfires can burn hot without ruining soil, new study finds
A fiery test on a 22-acre watershed in Portugal found that the hotter the fire—and the denser the vegetation feeding the flames—the less the underlying soil heated up, an inverse effect which runs contrary to previous studies and conventional wisdom

Florida International University: Researchers uncover mystery of charcoal’s fate
US and European researchers have established that black carbon, or biochar—most of it produced by wildfires and other biomass combustion—doesn’t stay in the soil indefinitely. Each year, around 27 million tons of it is transported to the sea by rivers and thus enters the carbon cycle.

American Geophysical Union: Scientists detect dark lightning linked to visible lightning
Dark lightning—the most energetic radiation produced naturally on Earth—was unknown before 1991. Scientists now know that these bursts of gamma rays occur in thunderstorms; next is figuring out ‘why.”

Soil Science Society of America: Study finds that residential lawns release more carbon dioxide than corn fields
A new study finds that more carbon dioxide is released from residential lawns than corn fields. Although the difference is attributable to higher soil temperatures in urbanized areas compared with agricultural lands, the implication is that even small urban ‘heat islands’ have an impact on carbon dioxide release amounts.


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