Half of fires on Earth annually take place in Africa and create more drought

Photo credit: Nature World News

This image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite, and shows numerous fires burning in an area between the Sahara Desert to the north and greener savannahs to the south. (Photo : NASA)

Agricultural Fires and Drought: Human-Set Fires in Africa Altering Rain

By Catherine Arnold

A recent NASA study has confirmed that agricultural fires set to clear fields and improve soil in North Africa are affecting the region’s rainfall in the dry season — in another example of human behavior unintentionally modifying weather. The researchers recently published their findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory looked at satellite images and analyzed how aerosols, or microscopic smoke particles, affect cloud formation and rainfall. They examined fires south of the Sahara Desert and north of the equator, and they looked at that area because about half of fires on Earth annually take place in Africa, a release said.

See the full text: Nature World News


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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.