Tree Frog Forestry News

Wildfire smoke’s bad – but scientists find a silver lining

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
July 21, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Wildfire smoke’s bad. …But maybe all that smoke’s still not as bad as we thought. That’s the mixed message emerging from recent studies on the impact of wildfire smoke… Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory discovered that as air and sunlight interacts with the massive smoke plume, it neutralizes sunlight-trapping “brown carbon” at the edge of the plume. …The discovery that the giant smoke plumes don’t produce quite as much heat-trapping brown carbon as feared offers a rare bit of good news. Studies have shown that the rapid increase in megafires are wafting smoke into the upper atmosphere. …The study demonstrates the huge potential benefit of burning biomass in power plants outfitted with pollution controls. Biomass power plants … capture more than 90% of the pollutants in the wood slash fuels they burn. So biomass burning plants to support forest thinning projects would reduce the threat of wildfires…

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