Carbon Brief hosted its second webinar on Wednesday and a video (above) of the recording is now available to watch on YouTube.
The topic for discussion was: “Is climate change making wildfires worse?” The webinar follows on from an in-depth Carbon Brief explainer published last week exploring the influence of climate change on wildfires around the world. Carbon Brief’s science writer Daisy Dunne, who authored the explainer, moderated the event alongside Carbon Brief’s editor Leo Hickman.
Dr Friederike Otto, acting director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, spoke about the influence of climate change on Australia’s record 2019-20 bushfires. Otto was part of a team of scientists that earlier this year produced a rapid analysis finding that climate change made the conditions for Australia’s bushfires at least 30% more likely.
Dr Ane Alencar, director of science at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) in Brazil, discussed the drivers of recent fire trends in the Amazon, including fire-driven deforestation. She also spoke about how worsening drought conditions can exacerbate wildfires in the Amazon.
Dr Frank Lake, a fire ecologist of indigenous American Indian descent at the US Forest Service, spoke about changes to wildfire severity and management approaches in California, where the area burnt by fire has increased in recent years.
Dr Cristina Santin, a wildfires researcher from Swansea University in Wales, explained the drivers of fires in different parts of the UK. Santin explained that the UK has seen a spike in wildfires in the last couple of years, but that a lack of long-term data makes deducing a trend difficult.
The panelists also answered a vast range of questions submitted by the audience. Questions submitted included: “How are fires in the Arctic impacting the global picture?” and “What is ‘indigenous fire stewardship’ and how can non-indigenous people support it?”
Carbon Brief hopes to host more webinars in the future. If you have suggestions for topics and panelists, please send them to [email protected].