Arctic wildfires emit more CO2 in two months than whole of 2019

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An aerial view shows smoke rising from a forest fire burning in the region of Yakutia, Russia July 16, 2020 Reuters

In total, smoke from the wildfires was covering an area of about 3.6 million sqkm on Wednesday – more than a third of the area of Canada

Smoke from massive fires in the Arctic has blanketed nearby cities and could travel thousands of kilometers to other parts of the world, raising concerns among scientists about poor air quality and exacerbated global warming.

Out-of-control wildfires north of the Arctic Circle have released more dangerous greenhouse gases in two months than all of the fires last year combined, the Independent reports.

The latest data from the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service reveals the appalling extent of the fires in the Siberian Arctic, which are releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.

Around 600 individual fire hotspots are being detected every day, compared with 200 to 300 on average in July 2019, and images taken by the satellites show enormous plumes of thick smoke, many stretching tens of kilometres across the tundra.

In total, smoke from the wildfires was covering an area of about 3.6 million sqkm on Wednesday – more than a third of the area of Canada.

“What we have been seeing in the Arctic this summer is a significant number of wildfires in the Siberian Arctic that have been burning since about the second week of June with high intensity and producing large amounts of smoke pollution covering much of the region,” Mark Parrington, senior scientist at Copernicus, told The Independent.

“In terms of CO2, we estimate that 205 megatons of CO2 was emitted from wildfires within the Arctic Circle between June 1 and July 31.

“For some context, the annual total wildfire emissions for the Arctic Circle in 2019 were 182 megatons of CO2,” he said.

This is more CO2 emissions than the annual output of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland combined.





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