As part of UMBC's Homecoming weekend, GRIT-X was held in the Fine Arts Recital Hall on Saturday, October 14, 2023. Sponsored by the Office of Research and Creative Achievement, GRIT-X 2023 (Global. Research. Innovation. Trends. Excellence)featured a variety of speakers throughout the UMBC community, and among them was Charles Ichoku, Professor, Geography and Environmental Systems and Director of GESTAR II. Dr. Ichoku's talk was titled "Wildfires, Climate, and People - A Triangular Threat to Global Sustainability." His talk is available here, and all GRIT-X 2023 presentations are available here.
This summer of 2023 was the hottest summer on record. Rising global temperatures have persisted since the last half century, but the trend is getting even more alarming. To quote from a recent NASA online publication "the top-five hottest Julys since 1880 have all happened in the past five years". There are several factors responsible for this rising trend, of which the most dominant is the atmospheric accumulation of long-lived greenhouse gases (particularly carbon dioxide CO2) that trap heat. Among the numerous sources of CO2, wildfires and other open burning come only second to fossil fuel burning. Authorities seek to improve "fire weather" forecasting for issuing warnings of potential wildfire threat to society on short-term basis, but what is even more important is understanding "fire climate" and how to reverse the increasing trend. We are contributing to this effort by creating the fire energetics and emissions research (FEER) project by which we seek to understand how active wildfires behave and what and how much hazardous pollutants they emit and the impacts of these on climate and humans.
Posted: October 18, 2023, 4:03 PM