Australia is burning

It’s not possible to pass by it in this beginning of new decade. Impossible, no, because it’s so big. Either by the size, by the intensity, by the duration. We are speaking here about the bush fires which are ravaging Australia.

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At least 25 dead, more than one billion dead animals, 100 000 people who had to escape from their homes, 8,4 million hectares burnt (07.01.2020). What terrifying figures! To have an element to compare, the area burnt in Australia is already 6 times bigger than in Amazonia during the forest fires in the summer 2019.

When nature looses the control of its forests

Bush fires are a normal process. Every year, since millions of years, in many forests in the world, fires break out thanks to nature (storm, drought…). It plays a role of self-regulation of the forests, for flora and fauna for example. So, why do people speak so much about the fires in Australia? Because there is no notion of self-regulation anymore. Indeed, since many years, we can observe a scary drawing on graphics of temperature. The consequences of the presence of human being for the climate are more and more obvious, and they’re the only reason which makes sense to explain this phenomenon. From records to records, from 42 to almost 50 °C, the drought is now deeply installed, and it has made the forest extremely dry, which means highly inflammable.

These phenomena, combined with strong winds, allow us to understand what is happening there (at least for one part).

Pyrocumulus: vicious circle

Such big fires don’t generate only classical smokes, but they create really time bombs named Pyrocumulus cloud. These clouds are highly charged with particles from the alive burning. The outcome is a really thick cloud, extremely dense. This storm cloud, by moving, will set off new fires which will, afterwards, start again new fires that will perpetuate this murderous circle. At the time of writing of the present article, all the eyes are looking at the sky, where only a heavy and long rain could stop this disaster.

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An announced disaster

This disaster, infinitely unfortunate, was announced since many years. First, as said previously, the global warming increases the frequency and the intensity of these exceptional phenomena (which are becoming less and less exceptional). We can also quote the 4th report from IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) from 2007, where we can read, already: ‘In south-east Australia, the frequency of very-high and extreme fire danger days is likely to rise 4-25% by 2020 and 15-70% by 2050”. Also, according to Jamie Hanson (Deputy Program Director & Head of Campaigns at Greenpeace Australia Pacific), the Australian energetic policy is questionable, both by the important part of using fossil fuels, and by the wish of the country to take the “lowest commitments in terms of reducing emissions” at the world scale.

Yet another alarm signal to listen

It’s been many years now that we can hear on the radio or everywhere on Internet that there is more and more “exceptional events”. In fact, nowadays, it’s the normal events which are becoming rare. We are at dawn of a turning in the history of humankind and earth. If this trend continues, the future of the human being doesn’t look so different from the one of the forests in Australia. Only an awareness as global as the climate change could allow us to continue the amazing odyssey of the weird species called Homo Sapiens.

Tanguy Payet

Sources:

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incendies_de_v%C3%A9g%C3%A9tation_en_Australiehttps://information.tv5monde.com/video/australie-10-chiffres-pour-realiser-l-ampleur-des-incendieshttps://www.futura-sciences.com/planete/actualites/incendie-australie-incendies-sont-ils-si-monstrueux-79072/https://www.france24.com/fr/20200107-incendies-en-australie-chronique-d-un-d%C3%A9sastre-annonc%C3%A9https://www.notre-planete.info/actualites/1130-feux-brousse-Australie-incendie-animauxhttps://www.notre-planete.info/actualites/1130-feux-brousse-Australie-incendie-animauxhttps://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupe_d’experts_intergouvernemental_sur_l’%C3%A9volution_du_climathttps://www.ouest-france.fr/monde/australie/https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2020/01/15/australie-comment-a-t-on-calcule-le-nombre-d-animaux-morts-dans-les-incendies_6025977_4355770.html

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