Washington: A new study suggests that wildfires contribute more to global warming than it was earlier predicted.
Measurements taken during the 2011 Las Conchas fire near Los Alamos National Laboratory show that the actual carbon-containing particles emitted by fires are very different than those used in current computer models, providing the potential for inaccuracy in current climate-modeling results.
"We`ve found that substances resembling tar balls dominate, and even the soot is coated by organics that focus sunlight," senior laboratory scientist Manvendra Dubey said.
"Both components can potentially increase climate warming by increased light absorption," the researcher said.
The Las Conchas fire emissions findings underscore the need to provide a framework to include realistic representation of carbonaceous aerosols in climate model, the researchers say.
They suggest that fire emissions could contribute a lot more to the observed climate warming than current estimates show.
"The fact that we are experiencing more fires and that climate change may increase fire frequency underscores the need to include these specialized particles in the computer models, and our results show how this can be done," Dubey said.
The study is published in Nature Communications.