Amazon Fires Update

News Brief by Kip Hansen


featured-image-fireThe news channels, newspapers, news sites and the Twit-o-verse are full of “the Amazon is burning!”  some of this was covered in here as “Amazon Fire History Since 2003” by Les Johnson  on August 23.

Years ago, I asked the question “What Are They Really Counting?”.  Always an important question when figures are being thrown about and talk is of scary numbers or records set or the numbers being scandalous.  Nice numbers . . . but what are they really counting?

Here’s the number of fires:


This year, 2019, as of  21 August, is running a hair below 2016.  There are two years since 2003 higher.

But for current Amazon fires,  we want to know: not just the number of fires  (for which the NY Times has quite a different number  than Global Fire Data, which is shown above). . . .but instead:

What is burning?

It is natural to think that because the news is all full of stories stating that “The Amazon Rain Forest is burning” — well, one might think that the Amazon Rain Forest is burning.

However, that is not true, according to a brave journalist —  Alexandria Symonds   — at the NY Times (kudos kudos  & kudos to her…) .  She reports:

“Natural fires in the Amazon are rare, and the majority of these fires were set by farmers preparing Amazon-adjacent farmland for next year’s crops and pasture.

Much of the land that is burning was not old-growth rain forest, but land that had already been cleared of trees and set for agricultural use.”

Our brave journalists skates close to the dangerous edge of violating  Editorial Mandates by telling readers:

“Did climate change cause these fires, and how will they affect climate change?

These fires were not caused by climate change. They were, by and large, set by humans. However, climate change can make fires worse. Fires can burn hotter and spread more quickly under warmer and drier conditions.”

[Note:  there is no mention of actual conditions of temperature or rainfall concurrent with these fires in the article, as usual for when climate is being blamed  — just the implication that “climate change will makes things worse” without any data. — kh]



Bottom Line:

What is Burning? Mostly land previously cleared for agriculture.  Some of these fires have gotten out of control along the edges of still-forested land.

How many fires?  About as many at this time of year in 2016.

Deforestation?  Deforestation of the Amazon has been ongoing, but it  has been down trending since 1985, according to the graph above from the Times.

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Authors Comment Policy:

I am glad to be able to commend a NY Times journalist — a rare opportunity.  Unfortunately, her “by…” page is currently down but I know that “Alexandria Symonds is a senior staff editor at The Times.”  I guess she has some slack from Editorial Narratives.

I just thought that readers should know the basic facts about the Amazon fires.

Note that the NY Times is also calling out “fake news” photos of the Amazon Fires.

Start comments with “Kip…” if speaking to me.

# # # # #

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August 23, 2019 4:31 pm

It is refreshing to see something factual coming out from the New York Times thanks to Alexandria Symonds, instead of something fatuous, it takes you right back to the good old days.

August 23, 2019 4:33 pm

“Here’s the number of fires:”
Well, we’ve just had that one in an article a few hours ago. It is the number of fires somewhere. But if you look at the region specified, it includes far more than just the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. It includes Peru, right through to the Pacific. It includes Mato Grosso, a very large, much drier and fire prone area. If you look at Amazonas, the region where the fires actually are, you see a much different picture.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 23, 2019 5:48 pm

“The graph is for the whole Amazon Region –which is what people are concern about — the Amazon Rain Forest”
The “Amazon region” is an arbitrary classification used by GFED for about half of S America. It includes far more than just the Brazilian rain forest, which is what people are concerned about. It includes Mato Grosso, for example, a hot scrub and grass area which in a typical year GFED reports over 100,000 fires. Amazonas, a larger area which includes most of the rain forest in question, reports under 20,000. You are lumping all those different things into one total and saying that it says something about the Brazilian rain forest fires.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 23, 2019 6:15 pm

Nick ==> The facts are apparently that it is not the Rain Forest that is burning but mostly previously cleared land. You need to pay more attention to what other people are talking about — and quite whining about the numbers you don’t like.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 25, 2019 1:29 am

Kip, that’s propaganda from Bolsonaro himself. That land belongs to indigenous people and he’s sent his government in and started the fires, as well as encouraged farmers to do so.
Now he’s made a public statement refuting that he’s ever done so and claims he’s sending in his military to put the fires out, probably a ploy to destroy more of the rain forest, which, as everyone else has already stated, is the part people are concerned about here.

Reply to  Simon
August 25, 2019 1:36 am

Totally wrong. According to Portuguese language news, local farmers in Western Brazil decided to have a Day of Fire (Dia de Fogo).
The reason for the Dia de Fogo? To protest to Bolsonaro.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 24, 2019 3:47 am

Nick appears to be making up a new argument in lieu of accepting the fake screams of the media are dishonest as are the ecomut claims concerning the fires.

“The lungs of the planet are burnin” and all that garbage.

Will stokes correct such nonsense claims? of course not. He’s another of those who will let lies slide as long as those lies go in one direction.

Integrity = 0

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
August 24, 2019 2:24 pm

Right, Stokes takes so expected position here, but he’s apparently honestly defending those positions. Kudos to Kip for his comment. There’s no reason to fall into the tribe trap.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 23, 2019 6:31 pm

“…it is about what is being counted.”

No. For you it’s all about camouflaging what should be counted.

Much of the land that is burning was not old-growth rain forest, but land that had already been cleared of trees and set for agricultural use.”

BS, what is being burnt is old growth forest bull-dozed into piles 6 months ago.

Seems like you’d rather talk about the “brave” apologist telling us rainforest can’t burn.

No counting the costs: the accellerating loss of bio-diversity, the dispossession of indigenous people, the risk of the Amazon falling below the rainfall threshhold, the enormous CO2 emission from deforestation? None of that counts?

So many things you are choosing not to count. “Meh, nothing to see, move along”?

Bryan A
Reply to  Loydo
August 23, 2019 8:07 pm

The biggest question is WHY? Not WHAT or HOW MUCH??
Why is the area being burned?
To grow Palm Oil for biofuels…where the money is.
WHY?? To offset the perceived cause of Climate Change.

Reply to  Bryan A
August 23, 2019 9:46 pm

Stop letting your bias blind you Bryan A. Produce your evidence.

Here let me do it for you: Cattle ranching 80%

Reply to  Bryan A
August 23, 2019 11:21 pm

Sugarcane for biofuel, not palm oil, as I understand it. See my other post if and when the Mods post it for the link.

Reply to  Loydo
August 23, 2019 8:19 pm

For most of us not our country and nothing we can do about it, we don’t really care what is being counted the fact as presented is factually correct. You clearly want some deeper discussion so take it up with Brazilian press or Brazilian websites.

Reply to  Loydo
August 24, 2019 2:49 am

It’s very colonialist to try to tell other countries what they can and can’t do with their own resources.

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  icisil
August 24, 2019 6:59 am

No it’s not. We should be able to discuss freely any topic or disagreement. Using various tricks to silence discussion is on the one hand unhelpful and on the other extremely dangerous. The various language ‘weapons’ that are used to block unwanted thoughts, ideas and words are: ‘racism’; ‘sexism’; ‘colonialism’; ‘white privilege’; ‘pale, male and stale’.
The question is slash and burning of such a vast area of rain-forest will make Brazil hotter and will disrupt rainfall. This is not because of released CO2 but because the tree cover that keeps the ground shaded while holding back water has been removed.

Here is an account of clear cutting in Brazil written in 1865:
“At six o’clock in the morning the overseer forces the poor slave, still exhausted from the evening’s labors, to rise from his rude bed and proceed to his work. The first assignment of the season is the chopping down of the forests for the next year’s planting, using a scythe to hack down the smaller trees. This work normally goes on for two months, depending upon the type of jungle being cut and the stamina of the slaves.
The next step is the destruction of the large trees, and this, like the previous work, continues for twelve hours each day. At night the slaves return home, where evening work of two or more hours awaits them, depending upon the character of the master. They set fire to the devastated jungle, and then they cut and stack the branches and smaller tree trunks which have escaped the fire and which, occupying the surface of the earth, could hinder development of the crop.
These mounds of branches are again burned, and the result is a sad and devastating scene! Centuries-old tree trunks which two months before had produced a cool, crisp atmosphere over a broad stretch of land, lie on the surface of a field ravaged by fire and covered with ashes, where the slaves are compelled to spend twelve hours under the hot sun of the equator, without a single tree to give them shelter.
This destruction of the forests has exhausted the soil, which in many places now produces nothing but grasses suitable for grazing cattle. The temperature has intensified, and the seasons have become irregular. The rains at times damage the crops, and at other times there is not rain at all. The streams and certain shallow rivers, such as the Itapucuru, have dried up or have become almost unnavigable, and lumber for building has become very rare, or is only found at a great distance from the settlements.”

It is not colonial to point this out.

Reply to  icisil
August 24, 2019 9:28 am

Point out whatever you want, but it’s their decision to make. If you want a say in the matter move to Brazil and become a voting citizen.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 24, 2019 10:43 am

LOL . . . .quite a few typos in that comment above…..I’ll try to do better….promise!

Reply to  Loydo
August 25, 2019 3:06 pm

co2? really? that’s just silly talk…. and theres way more to it than that.. its easy to say for people that have already done the same earlier in their own history, to get their societies to where they are today… it will be fine. we are not losing the amazon. mayan civilizations had more amazon land cleared than what is today… and as societies grow, afforestation begins to take hold. as I imagine will happen there as well

Frank Laccone
Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 3, 2019 1:48 pm

Kip so there is nothing to worry about?

Reply to  Frank Laccone
September 3, 2019 3:12 pm

Frank ==> Seldom does worry help anything — worry is so passive and personal.

Curiosity is far better — trying to find out what is really happening on some topic of interest and, once one has a grasp of the basic facts (what is really going on), then one can consider if one would rather there be something different going on.

Should the nation of Brazil allow its marginal lands on the edges of the amazon rain forest to be converted to agricultural uses? If so, how much of it how fast? If not, why not? Those are policy issues — and since there is no One World Government making decisions for everyone everywhere, the policies are up to Brazil itself.

I, for one, am not worried about the fires being so loudly discussed on the Twitty-verse.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 23, 2019 4:47 pm

Nick, give it up. The Amazon region includes Peru. As has been pointed out to you, MOST of the Amazon vegetation is in Peru and Columbia.

Amazonas is about 1/5 of the entire region.

If you disagree, contact GFED.

Reply to  Les Johnson
August 23, 2019 6:10 pm

GFED is just collecting statistics globally, not making claims about the rain forest. I notice the lede of the NYT article Kip quotes
“The hashtag #PrayForAmazonas was the top trending topic in the world on Twitter”

Amazonas is very much the region of concern.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 23, 2019 8:22 pm

To you because you like the numbers 🙂


Bill Treuren
Reply to  LdB
August 23, 2019 10:17 pm

and yet scraping north American forests clean to make chips for coal fired plants such as Drax is usefully counted as CO2 reduction when the fraud is exposed in the description of what happens when forests burn.

what about building a competitive set of CO2 emission accounts for each country that actually records the full cycle CO2 emission of a country.
We in NZ have a virtue signalling specialist government that is posturing to have an Aluminium smelter closed fully powered by Hydro knowing full well it will be replaced by a coal fire equivalent. These folk are integrity free.
Nick you are smart, if you believed in CAGW you would not say what you do you would work to build a better form of accounting.

Reply to  LdB
August 24, 2019 10:01 am

Bill Treuren says:
and yet scraping north American forests clean to make chips for coal fired plants such as Drax is usefully counted as CO2 reduction when the fraud is exposed in the description of what happens when forests burn.

Bill, I agree it’s just silly virtue-signalling to be burning wood for electricity, and I’m not far from where that wood comes from, but understand that those loblolly pine tree-farms are long-standing (many decades) & well-managed. They are the main source of US wood pulp, paper, etc, are immediately replanted and the growth rate of the highly-selected pines are quite amazing. It’s actually just business as usual for such large tree-farms & “scraped” areas regrow very quickly.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 24, 2019 6:34 am

You don’t give up easily do you, Nick.

As I pointed out in the other thread, most of Peru is rainforest and the rest is Puna, Paramo and Desert which don’t have forest fires.

And Northern and Central Mato Grosso is rainforest (or at least was before cleared for farming): I’ve been there, so I know.

The northern Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas and southern Roraima isn’t included, but there it is the rainy season, and so no forest fires.

So, except for southern Mato Grosso the area is a pretty good approximation for the part of the Amazon rainforest where fire is physically possible this time of year.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 24, 2019 1:47 pm

Not sure there is much to worry about-

“Meanwhile, US space agency Nasa said that overall fire activity in the Amazon basin was slightly below average this year”

Mark Broderick
August 23, 2019 4:34 pm

It’s being reported that 97% of the front page pics of the Amazon’s “raging fires” shown by the MSM are 10 years old AND some not even from Brazil ! The liberal “media” wouldn’t lie to us, would they ? lol

Reply to  Mark Broderick
August 24, 2019 10:49 am

Mark ==> Yes, thank you — see the link the the Author’s Comment Section of the main piece for the NY Times’ take on that issue.

Reply to  Mark Broderick
August 24, 2019 2:29 pm

Well, they hate Bolsanaro because he likes Trump. It is that simple.

August 23, 2019 4:40 pm

Thanks, Guardian are pushing this today and it seems to be on the agenda for G7.

The photo chosen to promote this is in agreement with the point that this is farmed land being burnt , not virgin rainforest.

August 23, 2019 4:42 pm

Kip, thanks for the mention.

A good graphic on that web page is the emissions.It shows where the emissions are from; agriculture, forest or savannah. Lately, much is from the savannah.

As I said in my post, there has been a DECLINE in number of fires, and area of the Amazon burnt, over the record.

I would wager money that this year will not see any records set, over the entire basin. The two areas with record or near record fires are Santa Cruz and Amazonas. The other sub-regions are average or below average.

Reply to  Les Johnson
August 24, 2019 11:23 am

Hello Kip and Les,
Thanks for the link to, which is using VIIRS and MODIS dat. VIIRS is collected nightly, cloud cover permitting, and measures radiance from the fires. Their “2019 Fire Season Updates” fire radiative power plot shows 2019 being significantly (about 50%) higher that any year from 2012 -2019 for the “Southern Amazon.” 2012 was the start of the VIIRS record. The “Cumulative Monthly Fire Counts” over all regions is quite typical, suggesting there are no more fires, just bigger fires.
At the bottom of the page is a “Totals” section which plots 2019 data based on a model and hence should be discounted or ignored.

August 23, 2019 4:46 pm

Me thinks NYT is attempting a bit of CYA, having been caught out openly lying so much of late. Don’t expect it to last.

August 23, 2019 4:47 pm

It turns out that this is being more hyped than anything. Some of the photo’s of the burning are from fires in 2003 and being conveniently recycled. This is all an overblown hoax, even though world leaders like that Macaroon nut job in France threatening Brazil to upend an important recent trade deal that was just signed unless they put the fires out and quit clearing precious Amazon jungle for agriculture. Even what they are reporting, that it is 80% worse than last year, is fiddling with stats since last year was very low in overall fires. The peak was back in 2010 which this year might be similar to. Looks like this is a straight up hit job on blowing up climate change to rally the troops/media that the world is ending. Everyone’s hair is on fire while the CAGW bandwagon is careening off the cliff.

August 23, 2019 4:53 pm

I also heard/read in a news report that some of the fires we the logs that were cleared and stacked by the clearing. Did you see any reporting on this?


Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 24, 2019 2:42 am

Kip: “Already cleared land…to prepare for next years planting”?

Stop disinforming. The land is”cleared” by bulldozing the old-growth rainforest into piles first…then burning it later. Exactly as depicted in this photo from the artcle:
comment image?quality=90&auto=webp

From that article:
“The destruction of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil has increased rapidly since the nation’s new far-right president took over and his government scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching and mining.”

“…last year, Mr. Bolsonaro declared that Brazil’s vast protected lands were an obstacle to economic growth and promised to open them up to commercial exploitation. Less than a year into his term, that is already happening.”

KH: “glad to be able to commend a NY Times journalist”

Yeah right. You’re actually agreeing with Earthling2 above that its just a “CAGW hit job”.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 24, 2019 2:42 pm

Fair enough, I apologise for the atitude. I do cop a lot worse that I dish out however.

Mark Broderick
August 23, 2019 5:01 pm

Anthony or CTM

“403 Forbidden
Permission denied. Our sentries tell us that you should not be here.”

Something wrong here ?

(I have no problem with the link) SUNMOD

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mark Broderick
August 24, 2019 5:49 am

Mark, the error you got is not directed personally at you. Anthony stopped the comments on that thread for some reason, and that’s why you got the error when you tried to post. Some people did post comments before Anthony shut it down, so that’s why you see a few comments and then when you try to comment, you get an error. I did the very same thing yesterday.

Reply to  Mark Broderick
August 24, 2019 10:53 am

Mark ==> If you are still concerned about this, here is Anthony’s note currently showing at the end of that post:

“Note: While it is my viewpoint that the science claims made in this study are speculative, and pander to climate alarmism, I realize that the topic could be an inflammatory one that may invite comments that would violate our policy and the policy of WordPress. Therefore, so that we won’t be a target of those who would seek to deplatform this website, I’m leaving comments turned off. -Anthony

August 23, 2019 5:23 pm

The climate hysteria underway right now is just deafening.

But the same thing happened in my living memory with Vietnam. Seriously, as a 10 year old it occupied my life as an event bigger than anything else other than Cassius Clay.

Nor did we have 24/7/365 news, nor the internet then. It didn’t actually bother me much, I was too interested in playing Rugby and watching F1 with my dad on a grainy black and white TV at 2pm ever second Sunday in the summer.

Then we faced the cold war, we were all going to be consumed by nuclear Armageddon. So in 1976 I joined the police and barely thought about it. If I was going to be bombed by Russia, so be it. What did, genuinely interest me more was that we might be plunged into another ice age. Suits me, I thought. I loved winter sports and watched people in Canada jealously, with their endless skiing and ice hockey. Winters in Scotland are horrible damp affairs. What little snow we had was wet, Yuk! A friend of mine, an experienced European skier, described a week in Aviemore as the coldest he had ever been in his life because of the permeating dampness.

Then AGW or ‘climate change’ trolled up. Judging by experience? It’s not got much longer to go, perhaps another ten years until people are interminably bored with it. The press will get bored (they always do) the politicians will get bored (they always like something new to chatter about) and the alarmists will get bored (what’s the point in flogging a dead horse?)

I reckon we’re just about at ‘peak alarm’ and if not, we are not far off it. The UK is awash with the subject. Politicians are bundling aboard the climate bus, all secure in their collective huddle that they can carve their career from it all. And as usual, the UK tends to be a bit of a bell-weather on these things. The US starts the ball rolling and the UK gets right behind it and there’s fewer people to convince, in a much smaller area.

In this case, the UK has been aided and abetted by the EU of course, I mean, climate central or what. But irrespective of what happens over the next few weeks, people will have a major turn of opinion, one way or the other on October 31st.

It will be almost as big as the Berlin wall falling, just not as dramatic and photogenic. All it will take, when everyone feels at their smuggest, is for some ambitious politician to roll a single grenade under the bus and they will all come spilling out like rats from a ship.

Like it or not, things will change, a new broom and all that. The UK has to make a go of Brexit, and one way or the other, it will happen, and President Trump and our American compatriots are, largely, willing and able to bale the UK out of the mess it’s got itself into with Europe, once again.

I mean, seriously, will we Brits never learn!

Adam Gallon
Reply to  HotScot
August 24, 2019 12:18 am

You reckon Borisconi & when the effects of a crash-out Brexit hit, Corbyn ( May the gods help us!), aren’t paid up wind millists & Climacatastrophists?

Reply to  Adam Gallon
August 24, 2019 1:59 am

AG: there is no such thing as a “crash out Brexit “. As us Brits were very clearly told by our then government and both campaigns Brexit meant a clean break from all EU control. No-one complained at the time but the unthinkable happened: common sense prevailed and the losing side dreamt up all manner of lies to discredit the result.
Anyway, this is a science blog so please keep it that way and restrict your political rants to the political FB pages.

Reply to  HotScot
August 24, 2019 6:58 am

By the way Loydo, that image you linked is not from a rainforest area. It is from cerrado.

If you look closely you will see that a lot of the trees are bare of leaves. Doesn’t happen in rainforest, while cerrado is defined as “floresta estacional semidecidual”. The trees are too far apart and too small too.

Now this is in no way surprising as cerrado is being cleared for farming at an alarming rate, mostly for growing soybeans for export to China. However cerrado is not nearly as charismatic as rainforest, so you never hear about it.

A good picture of cerrado:

And rainforest:

comment image

Reply to  tty
August 24, 2019 2:40 pm

Thanks for the clarificaion, but I would question whether you could call what’s in that picture some kind of savannah. The trees look too close together and the canopy too closed. But that is probably splitting hairs, cerradao type of cerrado is going to blend with true rainforest and it is just as bad an idea to trash.

Mark Broderick
August 23, 2019 5:31 pm

Freedom of Speech ?
“The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing”
Edmund Burke
Sad day in America….. : (
Yes Anthony, I know I am now probably banned for life, but at least have enough respect for the 1st amendment to print my last comment…


Reply to  Mark Broderick
August 24, 2019 10:58 am

Mark ==> If you have not caught on yet, please see my reply to your earlier comment above.

Anthony TURNED OFF COMMENTS entirely to that post almost immediately — your comment did not appear because comments had been turned off. Nothing personal.

August 23, 2019 5:32 pm

And I have to laugh.

Whilst the world is knee jerking over the Amazon being burned, I don’t see the rest of the world making much effort to return Scotland to the rich woodland that covered it before it was all chopped down for ships, buildings and firewood.

Are there many wind turbines in the middle of the Amazonian rain forest, because they are effing sprouting up like toadstools in Scotland.

Perhaps the lack of those pesky trees has a bearing on the matter?

Reply to  HotScot
August 23, 2019 8:24 pm

They could make a start on replanting Easter Island apparently it used to have trees before the bad men cut them down.

Richard Aubrey
August 23, 2019 5:35 pm

Slash and burn agriculture. Goes back thousands of years.

Michael Moeller
August 23, 2019 5:50 pm

“As of August 16, 2019, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison to the past 15 years. (The Amazon spreads across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and parts of other countries.)”

Reply to  Michael Moeller
August 23, 2019 8:01 pm

NASA Earth Observatory also said ” . . . the timing and location of fire detections early in the 2019 dry season are more consistent with land clearing than with regional drought.”

nw sage
August 23, 2019 6:02 pm

“the NY Times is calling out “fake news” photos of Amazon fires. Is a photo therefore fake news if it has not been approved by The NY Times? Or merely if it does not fit the NY Times peculiar narrative?
Kip- this is a rhetorical question for the Times to answer, not you.

Reply to  nw sage
August 24, 2019 11:02 am

nw sage ==> Several news outlets are now reporting about the use of “Amazon burning” images that are from the wrong time (years ago) or the wrong place (not the Amazon). I link the NY Times story on this issue in the Authors Comment section of the main post.

It is refreshing to see this type of correction by the media taking place at all, especially on an issue somewhat linked in the minds of readers with AGW.

August 23, 2019 6:28 pm
Reply to  Jesse Ferrell
August 23, 2019 8:27 pm

Which usually means someone put up an overreach article which cause a controversy and someone higher up the foodchain checked the facts.

Mike Dubrasich
August 23, 2019 8:47 pm

Anthropogenic fire in Amazonia and most of the rest of SA has been practiced for millennia. However, there are some fires which are not human-caused. In all cases the thing that is burning is FUEL, i.e. biomass, mainly cellulose, which is a product of PHOTOSYNTHESIS, which has been happening for hundreds of millions of years in SA.

There are very few fire reports from the Sahara Desert, which is even HOTTER than Amazonia, mainly because there is no FUEL there.

But there are fires in boreal Canada, which is much COLDER than Amazonia and/or the Sahara Desert, mainly due to the abundant FUEL in boreal Canadian forests.

It ain’t the air temps; it’s the FUELS (stupid).

August 23, 2019 9:16 pm

Plan and Stop crying Wolf.

Reoccurring high risk events occur during certain months. A few examples below.
-Amazon fires (Aug,Sept)
-Atlantic/Pacific hurricane season (Aug/Sept)

Unpredictable Catastrophic Events, humans can’t influence (different budget bucket)

It’s too soon to say the Amazon Rainforest is burning at a record rate as touted by the Sensationalism news. Let’s hope that won’t be the case.

These are predictable events that have a high risk of occurrence every year during certain months. Yes, the Amazon is in an emergency fire situation, it happens every year in August/September. And I’m sure they can use some emergency funding.

Let’s start budgeting and planning for these predictable yearly high risk events that occur worldwide and stop crying wolf that the earth is doomed.

Reply to  Renee
August 23, 2019 9:57 pm

“Unpredictable Catastrophic Events, humans can’t influence
These are predictable events”

You have no idea what you’re talking about. Lightning has been causing fires to start for millions of years but there is nothing unpredictable nor unpreventable about the deliberate destruction and burning 20% of the Amazonian rainforest.

David Guy-Johnson
Reply to  Loydo
August 23, 2019 10:41 pm

Loydo it’s you who doesn’t k ow what you are talking about. A fact you regularly demonstrate.

Reply to  Loydo
August 23, 2019 11:00 pm

I agree that Amazon fires are predictable during certain drought months every year. A preventive educational plan and budget should be developed for these predictable human/climate interaction events that occur every year.

Reply to  Loydo
August 24, 2019 3:03 am

What a colonialist attitude. If Brazil or any other country is cutting down trees it is for purposes beneficial to their country. It’s their business, not yours.

Reply to  Loydo
August 24, 2019 2:34 pm

Oh that’s great if you’ll stop whining in 2024 (20% a year takes five years and is done).

Now go check your facts. Nothing has happened this year that didn’t hsppen previous years. There is no news.

Patrick MJD
August 23, 2019 9:17 pm
Reply to  Patrick MJD
August 23, 2019 10:06 pm

It’s a bit rich the French complaining about Brazil clearing it’s forests, how much of the French forests are left? The word Hypocrites comes to mind.

If was Brazil I would simply tell Macron to replant all the trees lost thru the ages in France then come and talk. It was okay for France to remove it’s forests to develop but not Brazil.

Reply to  LdB
August 24, 2019 12:14 am

It is quite rich for Macron to be criticizing Brazil given what Europe is doing to forests worldwide.

Clear-Cutting Romania
Logging Threatens One of Europe’s Last Virgin Forests
One of Europe’s most beautiful forest areas is disappearing piece by piece in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains. Some of the logging is illegal. The wood is then sold to make flooring or heating pellets that are sold in Germany and other countries.
…Meanwhile, activist Alexander von Bismarck says he simply cannot get it into his head that one of the last European virgin forests is being illegally cut down so it can be sold to heat homes in Austria.

EU must not burn the world’s forests for ‘renewable’ energy
A flaw in Europe’s clean energy plan allows fuel from felled trees to qualify as renewable energy when in fact this would accelerate climate change and devastate forests
……Europe’s own demand for wood would degrade forests around the world, but if other countries follow Europe’s example, the impacts would be even more dangerous. Instead of encouraging Indonesia and Brazil to preserve their tropical forests – Europe’s present position – the message of this directive is “cut your forests so long as someone burns them for energy”.


Ancient German Forest Can Be Cut Down for Coal Mine, Court Rules
November 28 2017

Germany: Thousands protest to save Hambach Forest
Thousands of people have protested to save the last 200 hectares of western Germany’s ancient Hambach Forest. The forest is at risk of being felled to allow energy giant RWE to continue its lignite mining operations.

German court stops controversial clearing of forest for …

That forest is safe, for now–until someone wants to cut it down for wind farms or solar arrays, anyway, then the chopping down will be good for the Earth, somehow.

Reply to  LdB
August 24, 2019 1:25 am

French here, and yeah the president is a huge hypocrite, what could you expect of someone who is called “champion of climate” ?
However, forested area in France has been steadily growing since 1800 in France (oh my, could it be because we now use fuel that was underground instead of forests?!)

Notice how much we destroyed our forests in the time of a growing demography without fossil fuels, and in the time of wooden boat naval warfare.

MAcron is an hypocrite because he is actually cutting funding to the ONF (Office National des Forêts : National forestry office), and wants new land development to be able to ignore advice from the ONF.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Patrick MJD
August 27, 2019 4:07 pm

Frances tallest trees were cut for Frances Kings cathedrals : › frenc…

France no longer has trees tall enough to rebuild Notre-Dame’s roof – INSIDER
17.04.2019 · France no longer has trees tall enough to rebuild Notre-Dame’s roof as it was. Bertrand de Feydeau, the vice president of the preservation group Fondation du Patrimoine, said France no longer has trees tall enough to rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral’s frame as it was. › news

Notre Dame cathedral cannot be rebuilt in exactly the same way | Daily Mail Online
16.04.2019 ·

Architects say Notre Dame CANNOT be rebuilt the same way because France no longer has trees big enough.

August 23, 2019 11:18 pm

If you recall this article by Anthony, it’s hard to see why some fires in the Amazon so upset the greens when this doesn’t.

The Obvious Biomass Emissions Error
February 7, 2019
Nor, has this bothered them. Hmmm.

The trouble with Brazil’s much-celebrated ethanol ‘miracle’
Apr 14, 2010

Destroy Rainforests to Grow Sugar Cane?
August 25, 2008 in Biofuels

It seems the evil cattle are taking a beating with these current fires. (Why do greens hate cows so much?) However, biomass and biofuels for so-called green energy has been a problem for the Amazon for far longer.

Stephen W
August 23, 2019 11:47 pm

Fire is a cheaper method than broadcast herbicides.
Probably better for the environment too. But fires look more scary.

August 24, 2019 12:04 am

Professor Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of BioGeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, wrote this in 2003:

“At the end of the last ice age, only some 12-18000 years ago, the tropics were covered by seasonal savannah grasslands, cooler and much drier than now. There were no rain forests in the Malay Peninsula and much of Amazonia, and, despite the increasing human development of forested space, there are still more rain forests persisting than existed then.

As in Europe and North America, the forests came and went as climate changed; there is no Clementsian “long period of control” under one climate. Beneath many rain forests, there are sheets of ash, a testimony in the soil to past fires and non-forested landscapes.”

“Brazil: Ancient Amazon Actually Highly Urbanized” August 31st 2008

“The report in Friday’s edition of the journal Science, describes clusters of towns and smaller villages that were connected by complex road networks and were arranged around large central plazas. Researches also discovered signs of farming, wetland management and fish farms in the ancient settlements that are now almost completely covered by rainforest.”

“Stone age etchings found in Amazon basin as river levels fall”: 10 November 2010 Guardian
“Archaeologists who have studied the photographs believe the art – which features images of faces and snakes – is another indication that thousands of years ago the Amazon was already home to large civilisations.

“Eduardo Neves, president of the Brazilian Society of Archaeology and a leading Amazon scholar, said the etchings appeared to have been made between 3,000 and 7,000 years ago when water levels in the region were lower. The etchings were “further, undeniable evidence” that the region had been occupied by a significant number of ancient settlements and people.””

SOUTH AMERICA DURING THE LAST 150,000 YEARS – Jonathan Adams, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

“In general, it would seem that 150-130,000 y.a. the continent showed the general glacial-age pattern of colder and more arid conditions. After about 130,000 y.a., climate warmed and moistened and the forests reached a similar area to the present.

After 115,000 y.a., cold and aridity began to influence the vegetation, to an arid, cool maximum around 70,000 y.a., followed by erratic but generally fairly cool and drier-than-present conditions throughout the continent. A second cold, arid maximum began around 22,000 years ago and lasted until about 14,000 14C y.a., after which rainfall and temperatures increased and the forests returned over several thousand years.”

Amazon is the lungs of the Earth?

“Chemical reactions involving tree V.O.C.s produce methane and ozone, two powerful greenhouse gases, and form particles that can affect the condensation of clouds. Research by my group at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and by other laboratories, suggests that changes in tree V.O.C.s affect the climate on a scale similar to changes in the earth’s surface color and carbon storage capacity.

While trees provide carbon storage, forestry is not a permanent solution because trees and soil also “breathe” — that is, burn oxygen and release carbon dioxide back into the air. Eventually, all of the carbon finds its way back into the atmosphere when trees die or burn.

Moreover, it is a myth that photosynthesis controls the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. Even if all photosynthesis on the planet were shut down, the atmosphere’s oxygen content would change by less than 1 percent.

The Amazon rain forest is often perceived as the lungs of the planet. In fact, almost all the oxygen the Amazon produces during the day remains there and is reabsorbed by the forest at night. In other words, the Amazon rain forest is a closed system that uses all its own oxygen and carbon dioxide.”

Amazon River CO2 outgassing equals Rainforest sequestration:
Evaluation of Primary Production in the Lower Amazon River Based on a Dissolved Oxygen Stable Isotopic Mass Balance
The Amazon River outgasses nearly an equivalent amount of CO2 as the rainforest sequesters on an annual basis due to microbial decomposition of terrigenous and aquatic organic matter.

The Amazon River is a major source of CO2 to the atmosphere, but understanding the interplay between photosynthesis and respiration is critical for understanding the fundamental mechanisms driving these fluxes and the overall productivity of the ecosystem.

The science is settled…

Tom Abbott
Reply to  dennisambler
August 24, 2019 6:07 am

Thanks for that very informative post, dennis. 🙂

Even P Diddy (an American rapper) is getting in on the “Lungs of the Earth” hysteria. He sounded genuinely worried. He should read your post. Especially the part about how the oxygen created in the Amazon, stays in the Amazon.

Take a deep breath, P. Diddy.

Curious George
Reply to  dennisambler
August 24, 2019 10:09 am

An opinion of NYTimes trumps all science…

Reply to  dennisambler
August 24, 2019 6:27 pm

“Moreover, it is a myth that photosynthesis controls the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. Even if all photosynthesis on the planet were shut down, the atmosphere’s oxygen content would change by less than 1 percent.”
What is your support for this statement? Oxygen is highly reactive and is constantly being consumed so where else is it being replenished from if not photosynthesis.

Reply to  Rick
August 25, 2019 5:47 am


The amount of CO2 in the air increased from 300 to 400 ppmv over the past 50 years or so;
in % of the atmosphere this is from 0.03% to 0.04%…..
Do you understand that even if we ascribe all of this increase due to human activity, i.e. the burning of fossil fuel, it still won’t make any dent in the 20% of the oxygen in the atmosphere?

Reply to  henryp
August 27, 2019 5:44 pm

That doesn’t address my objection. If you cut out photosynthesis I think you would soon be gasping for air.

Reply to  Rick
August 28, 2019 4:30 am

Rick says: That doesn’t address my objection. If you cut out photosynthesis I think you would soon be gasping for air.

Henry says:
No Rick. There is more than enough oxygen for all of us from the beginning of creation. Remember that all the water in the oceans and on earth must have been originally formed by an explosive reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. 2H2 + O2 = 2H2O. IMHO, once all the hydrogen was burned up we were left with ca. 20% oxygen.

Interestingly, photosynthesis reverses in the evening and night to form energy for growth and CO2. So, it is not true that animal life is the only living on glucose.

Everything we eat or drink (except pure water) depends on CO2 (to make glucose). So if you cut out photosynthesis you will soon go hungry. However, there will be enough oxygen jleft in the atmosphere for you to breath easily.

Peter Plail
August 24, 2019 12:29 am

Watching the news yesterday we witnessed a plane flying over the burning dropping water on the flames with a woman in the foreground using a hose. Looked more like people trying to put a fire out not deliberately causing one.

August 24, 2019 2:41 am

from BBC: area is defined. false pictures acknowledged etc

“Thousands of fires are ravaging the Amazon rainforest in Brazil – the most intense blazes for almost a decade.
The northern states of Roraima, Acre, Rondônia and Amazonas have been particularly badly affected.
However, images purported to be of the fires – including some shared under the hashtag #PrayforAmazonia – have been shown to be decades old or not even in Brazil.
So what’s actually happening and how bad are the fires?
There have been a lot of fires this year
Brazil has seen a record number of fires in 2019, Brazilian space agency data suggests.
The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) says its satellite data shows an 85% increase on the same period in 2018.

The official figures show more than 75,000 forest fires were recorded in Brazil in the first eight months of the year – the highest number since 2013. That compares with 40,000 in the same period in 2018.
Forest fires are common in the Amazon during the dry season, which runs from July to October. They can be caused by naturally occurring events, such as by lightning strikes, but also by farmers and loggers clearing land for crops or grazing.”

Reply to  ghalfrunt
August 24, 2019 7:09 am

Still mostly lies.

Roraima is a northern state but Acre and Rondonia is at the southern edge of the Amazon basin. Amazonia (state) is in the south-central part of the basin.

And there most definitely are no fires in Roraima. It is the rainy season there. You can check for yourself at Click “satellite detection of fires, choose your date and zoom in.

Ben Vorlich
August 24, 2019 4:19 am

Quite a few years ago I remember reading an article about the first Spanish reports from the Amazon. As far as I can remember they remarked on the large numbers of people they encountered.

Some more recent research adds credence to these reports.

Amazon Jungle Once Home to Millions More Than Previously Thought

New Amazon Population Revealed Archaeologists have discovered remarkable new evidence that parts of the Amazon long thought uninhabited were in fact home to thriving, diverse populations of up to a million people. The researchers from the University of Exeter have unearthed remains revealing that a 1,800 km stretch of Southern Amazonia was continuously occupied from 1250 until 1600 by people living in fortified villages.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
August 24, 2019 7:20 am

You are thinking about the Orellana expedition back in the 1540’s. And yes, they reported visiting several indian “cities” ruled by “kings” along the Amazon, and that the river banks were largely cultivated land.

The population was apparently almost completely wiped out by new Old World diseases which they lacked immunity for.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 25, 2019 4:36 am

Thanks to both.

August 24, 2019 10:09 am

At this rate the Amazon rainforest will disappear in about 2,000 years. Unless it grows back.

Hans Erren
August 24, 2019 10:28 am

Nobody is writing about the devastating forest fires in Indonesia which are threatening the orangutans.
And of course: tropical rainforests are NOT the lungs of the earth, Leonardo DiCaprio.

Anna Keppa
August 24, 2019 10:46 am

“Moreover, it is a myth that photosynthesis controls the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. Even if all photosynthesis on the planet were shut down, the atmosphere’s oxygen content would change by less than 1 percent.”

OK, I’ll bite. Where did the oxygen in the atmosphere come from in the first place, and what sustains it now?

Reply to  Anna Keppa
August 24, 2019 11:08 am

Anna ==> It is fairly well accepted that the oxygen in the atmoshpere originally came from various bacteria, such as cyanobacteria:

The Origin of Oxygen in Earth’s Atmosphere

but note that:

These microbes conduct photosynthesis: using sunshine, water and carbon dioxide to produce carbohydrates and, yes, oxygen. In fact, all the plants on Earth incorporate symbiotic cyanobacteria (known as chloroplasts) to do their photosynthesis for them down to this day.”

Reply to  Anna Keppa
August 24, 2019 12:00 pm

The oxygen in the atmosphere has accumulated over more than 500 million years, while the carbon from the CO2 has simultaneously been slowly been sequestered as shale, coal, oil, peat etc, but mostly (>95%) as shale. If production of oxygen would stop completely tomorrow it would take many million years before enough unoxidized material has eroded or erupted to consume all that oxygen.

NC Coder
August 24, 2019 10:59 am

Wouldn’t it be amazing if it turned out the “Amazon forest” was simply their version of Central Park that got out of hand after everybody left?

Reply to  NC Coder
August 24, 2019 11:10 am

NC Coder ==> Cute! But it has been found that the Amazon region once contained fairly robust civilizations that vastly modified the forest environment — and have since disappeared leaving the forest to grow back to what we see today.

August 24, 2019 11:13 am

I do want to share some interesting news / please give me your opinion on it.

I noticed that of 10 places that I checked here in South Africa, only one place showed warming – over the past 40 years – namely Johannesburg (Jhb). Now, truly, Jhb was a semi-desert but it had gold, but no running water… so water was diverted from elsewhere to satisfy the need of people wanting to make a living of the gold…
It appears, exactly the same thing happened in Las Vegas. There was no running water. So, water was diverted – and indeed – the biblical prophecy of turning a desert into an oasis became true – to satisfy the need of getting in on the action of getting rich quick…on gambling…
Now, to understand my point, you have to understand that I do not agree with the argument that de-forestation causes warming. I think it causes cooling… evident from the results of Tandil (ARG) where they chopped all the trees.

Reply to  HenryP
August 24, 2019 1:58 pm

You r surprised? You realize that in the evening and night, photosynthesis reverses to produce growth and energy?
The effect is apparently so strong that the sats can pick up increased CO2 above the big forests …

Reply to  HenryP
August 24, 2019 3:18 pm

HenryP ==> Can’t give much of an opinion based on the two graphs — but interestingly, to me at least, is the differences in Max and Min temps overtime (which, obviously, cause the change in the Mean.)

The Las Vegas time series might well depend on the massive changes in human habitation — UHI and all that. It was a naked desert and is now a mega-city. It has undergone a ten-fold increase in population since 1950. UHI tends to raise night-time lows. So much would depend on the location of the weather station being measured.

Whereas I admit to knowing NOTHING whatever about Tandil, Argentina.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 25, 2019 1:52 am

Hi Kip, Boffin

I carefully analysed 10 cities here in South Africa. I can show you the results. All these cities have grown, so you’d think that there must be at least a noticeable UHI effect over the past 40 years. Yet 9 of the cities show no warming whatsoever. In fact Tmin has dropped by 0.8K over the past 40 years. The only city showing warming is Johannesburg and this was the one city that had no flowing water, just like Las Vegas. Water was diverted from elsewhere enabling people to live, work and plant trees, lawns, gardens and even crops.
Here is an interesting report:
Looking quickly at the conclusion you will notice that Tmin rose by 3K in the valley that was cultivated compared to the areas that was left untouched.

Now, as the world’s population grows, obviously everyone wants gardens with trees and lawns and raise crops. So here is the strange paradox: it appears to me that is the forestation and cultivation of land that traps heat, causing a portion of the earth’s warming …..

Reply to  HenryP
August 24, 2019 4:03 pm

hi Henry,
There is an article about this in (dare I say it) Scientific American from 2007, referencing some research published in PNAS:

A new study, however, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that forests’ other climatic effects can cancel out their carbon cleaning advantage in some parts of the world. Using a three-dimensional climate model, the research team mimicked full global deforestation and also studied the effects of clear-cutting in different regions of latitude, such as the tropics and boreal zones. Apparently, these natural carbon sinks only do their job effectively in tropical regions; in other areas, they have either no impact or actually contribute to warming the planet. In fact, according to this model, by the year 2100, if all the forests were cut and left to rot, the annual global mean temperature would decrease by more than 0.5 degree Fahrenheit.

August 24, 2019 1:58 pm

You r surprised? You realize that in the evening and night, photosynthesis reverses to produce growth and energy?
The effect is apparently so strong that the sats can pick up increased CO2 above the big forests …

Reply to  HenryP
August 25, 2019 9:28 am

Kip and Henry,
I did not know that photosynthesis reverses at night – interesting – but there is obviously a time-averaged net removal of carbon from the atmosphere when plants build roots and stems and leaves.
However the greenhouse impact of CO2 removal is so small that it could be easily out-weighed by water brought up from the soil and released into the air as water vapour – so the net greenhouse change due to plant growth is probably toward warming, as per the PNAS article.
I suspect an even more important mechanism for warming is the change in Earth’s albedo in the visible bands, where greenhouse effects are not relevant. Arid areas reflect more light energy directly to space, than vegetated areas. An intuitive illustration of this is NASA’s “blue marble” (an image taken in the visible bands). The brighter the marble, the less light energy is being shifted into heat. The clouds are brightest, of course, so condensing clouds and airplane contrails reduce heating. But look at the non-cloudy areas: the darkest areas are the oceans and lakes and rainforests. Ergo, if the forests spread, the Earth will warm. That being said, I like the trees – it’s a conundrum.

Reply to  boffin77
August 25, 2019 9:58 am

All true. But i did not see any link?

Reply to  henryp
August 25, 2019 3:35 pm

Don’t see the link Henry? I’m just riffing on your earlier statement: it appears to me that is the forestation and cultivation of land that traps heat, causing a portion of the earth’s warming.
Aye, Kip if only matters were that simple… if only the propagandists were right and it was as simple as reducing oil and gas consumption.
I think we could try to make a list of simple things to do:
– invent ways to increase the Earth’s albedo in the visible light bands. Some kooky ideas to get us thinking:
— build homes with bright galvanized steel roofs
— replace solar panels with simple mirrors
— let natural forest fires and grass fires burn longer
— stop irrigating our lawns and fields
— encourage aircraft to fly at altitudes where they leave a contrail
— wear tinfoil hats 🙂

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  henryp
August 27, 2019 5:00 pm
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 25, 2019 1:28 pm

I note an increase in Tmin on NH and a decrease on the SH.
This could het due to most land being on NH.
The inside of earth has also been moving to re-align with the magnetic field of the sun…

August 25, 2019 6:57 am

The graphs being used are only using specific amazon regions where it’s not severe. The cumulative charts from the same website you linked to show a record break for 2019.

Andrej Volčanšek
Reply to  Casey
August 26, 2019 5:07 pm (page 4).

1991 14 mio hectares burned in S America (Brazil mostly).
2019 2-3 mio burned in Brazil sofar.

1991 – > Nirvana made a record, people were happy
2019 -> Everyone is on Facebook, people are easily mislead

August 25, 2019 8:47 am

thanks for the link. I made a note of it in my reference file. It confirms exactly what I am saying. More forrestry makes it warmer on earth, not cooler.
Not that I think it would overheat due to more vegetation…

Andrej Volčanšek
August 26, 2019 5:03 pm (page 4)

2019 -> 2 – 3 mio hectares burned.

Johann Wundersamer
August 27, 2019 4:29 pm

And before this cyanobacterias Earth’s atmosphere was murderous for mammals :

Johann Wundersamer
August 27, 2019 4:30 pm

And before this cyanobacterias Earth’s atmosphere was murderous for mammals :

Most scientists believe that for half of Earth’s 4.6-billion-year history, the atmosphere contained almost no oxygen. Cyanobacteria or blue-green algae became the first microbes to produce oxygen by photosynthesis, perhaps as long ago as 3.5 billion years ago and certainly by 2.7 billion years ago.

Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
August 28, 2019 4:36 am

Nah. I don’t believe that story.
See my comment to Rick,

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