Claim: Boreal Forests Burning More Now Than Any Time in Past 10,000 Years

Scientific American reports:

Alaska is burning more than it has in the past 10,000 years.

That’s the finding of research released yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study analyzed charcoal found in sediment cores from 14 lakes in the Yukon Flats region of the state to determine the frequency of past fires.

Over the last 3,000 years, the average fire frequency in the area was about 10 fires per thousand years.

In the last 50 years, the fire frequency has nearly doubled, up to 20 every thousand years, or one fire every 50 years.

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3 thoughts on “Claim: Boreal Forests Burning More Now Than Any Time in Past 10,000 Years”

  1. The article would seem to indicate we had a fire sometime in the last 50 years. A single data point is not significant.

  2. The statistics of rare events seems to be subject to more abuse than any other topic in the field. When something only happens 1% of the time, it is just as likely that it only happens 0.5% of the time, or 2% of the time. There is no statistically significant difference between them.
    Now if they could produce detailed maps of burn areas in Alaska for each of the last 10,000 years, I *might* consider the thesis. I doubt that their alien overlords will be willing to share that much detail of their Holocene surveillance records.

  3. By the time scales being used, one fire would double their rate. Time for a grain of salt. If there was a link to “climate change” in the article, I missed it.

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