The area of forest burnt by wildfires in the United States is set to increase by over 50% by 2050, according to research by climate scientists.
The study predicts that the worst affected areas will be the forests in the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains, where the area of forest destroyed by wildfire is predicted to increase by 78% and 175% respectively.
The research is based on a conservative temperature increase of 1.6 degrees Celsius over the next 40 years.
Published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, scientists also say that the increase in wildfires will lead to significant deterioration of the air quality in the western United States due to greater presence of smoke.
Scientists used data documenting the area of forest burned on federal land since 1980 along with weather data from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, to construct a computer model that takes into account the factors that can best predict the area burned in each ecosystem in the western US.
Significantly, the research also predicts a 40% increase in the western United States in the concentration of tiny soot particles in the air, known to scientists as organic carbon aerosol. This will have important consequences on western US air quality and visibility.
Source: eureka alert