An international study by the University of Melbourne (UNIMELB) revealed that forest fires seem to take day offs on Sundays and are highly influenced by work weeks. The study looked into the dramatic effects of human activity, culture and religion on the global climate.
Researchers found that most conflagrations occur more frequently on Tuesdays, and less likely on days related to religion. By analyzing data from 2001 to 2013, they found that among the billions of global fires that occurred, Sunday was the most inactive day with only about 104 million fires.
In a study featured in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, experts explained that there seems to be a very clear pattern to global fires. The number of global fires that happened on a Sunday was eight percent or nine million fires less than that on a Tuesday, which is the middle of work week.
"Nature doesn't adhere to the weekly cycle, so this really highlights the influence we have on the planet when it comes to fires," said Nick Earl from UNIMELB's School of Earth Sciences.
Scientific discussions regarding the factors that cause these forest fires are ongoing. Some debate that there are regional-scale weekly cycles above the statistical noise level, while some claim that the interaction of anthropogenic aerosols with clouds and solar radiation is a significant factor.
In the United States and Australia, the weekly cycle of fires appeared to be specifically evident, while weekend fire rates were globally inconsistent. Kazakhstan and other regions with greater Muslim populations had the lowest number of fires on Thursdays and Fridays.
"Friday is the 'day of assembly' and prayer for the Muslim faith, so it actually strengthens the argument for how religion impacts on our climate," said Earl.
The group's study is the first to analyze the seven-day weekly cycle in connection to global fires. The concept of weekly cycles, which in this case is in meteorological variables, as a point in research enables experts to assess the level of human influence on nature.
Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 1.3 million fires occurred in 2011. At the same time, 17,500 were injured and 3,005 individuals were killed. Overall, the country suffered a loss of $11.7 billion because of forest fires in 2011.
Photo : U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region | Flickr