Satellite images show wildfires ravaging the Arctic circle
Satellite images show forest fires on the Arctic Circle.
Forest fires devastate parts of the Arctic Circle, with areas in Siberia, Alaska, Greenland and Canada submerged in flames and smoke.
Satellite images show that the clouds of smoke from the fires, many of which were caused by dry storms in hot weather, can be seen from space.
Scientists at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) said that after an unusually warm spring and after seeing signals from thermal anomaly sources from satellite imagery, they are preparing for more intense fire activity.
After “unprecedented” fires in some areas of the northern hemisphere last year, CAMS scientists have used Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS) data to take a look at forest fires in the Arctic Circle for 2020.
The system uses observations from satellite-based sensors to provide daily estimates of emissions and information about the intensity of the fires, which are then compared to the average of previous years to get a longer-term picture.
They have observed “fairly typical” fire activity in the region, which is expected to increase in the next few weeks.
Smoke from Arctic Forest Fires Fills the Sky (CAMS)
Mark Parrington, lead scientist at CAMS, told Yahoo News UK: “Major fires in the high Arctic can last many weeks if they continue to burn in the same way as last summer.
"The consequences for the planet are that the burn scars they cause and the possible deposition of soot on Arctic sea ice change the surface albedo and further increase Arctic climate change, which we know is changing faster than the rest of the planet . "
The extent of vegetation that burned in the Arctic in summer 2019 attracted worldwide attention. By the end of July, the slow-burning, long-lasting fires had released 100 million tons of carbon, an amount that corresponds to the annual production of countries like Belgium, Kuwait or Nigeria. In mid-August, the cloud of smoke covered an area larger than the EU.
Mark Parrington is a senior scientist investigating Arctic forest fires (Mark Parrington / Twitter)
An extraordinary 32 ℃ heat wave triggered a particularly intense fire season in Alaska, in which about three times more carbon was released than the US state emits every year from the combustion of fossil fuels.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) described the fires of the past year as "unprecedented" and warned of the enormous impact they would have on the CO2 values that contribute to the climate crisis.
The WMO said, “Although forest fires are common in the northern hemisphere between May and October, the latitude and intensity of these fires, and the length of time they have been burning, have been particularly unusual.
“The ongoing Arctic fires were most severe in Alaska and Siberia, where some were large enough to cover nearly 100,000 soccer fields or all of Lanzarote.
“In Alberta, Canada, a fire was estimated to be larger than 300,000 parking spaces. In Alaska alone, Cams has registered almost 400 forest fires this year, of which new ones ignite every day. "
Parrington added: “The fact that so many intense forest fires can burn in the Arctic Circle, a region that many people consider frozen, shows that the rapidly changing climate in this part of the world provides the right conditions for fires after one Ignition burn for many weeks.
“First, such large fires produce a lot of air pollutants that can affect local air quality and thousands of kilometers from the wind.
“Even from a climatic point of view, the deposition of soot or soot on the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean affects the albedo and could accelerate the warming. Some of these fires are known to burn irreversible carbon emissions into the atmosphere, which has been stored for tens of thousands of years. "
Only 10 km inside the #ArcticCircle this devastating fire (66.5N, 151E) is clearly visible today with @CopernicusEU # Sentinel2 together with its thick smoke. #ArcticHeatwave #ClimateChange #Russia #Siberia #OpenData @AT_Brif @lfkraus @ESA_EO @stracma @TerliWetter @WeDontHaveTime @WMO
2:17 p.m. - June 22, 2020
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The CAMS website states: “Forest fires are a natural phenomenon in the ecological cycle and contribute to a healthy ecosystem, since the burnt soil leaves a fertile space for the growth of new flora. Hot and dry conditions can increase the intensity of the fires and bring them to an intensity "above normal", which is often a risk to human health. "
CAMS has no data that directly link forest fires to climate change. However, the website points out: “In some parts of the world, high-intensity fires are increasing more often, partly due to extreme weather events such as long-term drought conditions. Hot and dry conditions are one of the biggest risk factors. "
The WMO added: “The northern part of the world warms up faster than the entire planet. This heat dries out forests and makes them more susceptible to burns. A recent study found that the world's boreal forests are now burning at a rate that has not been seen in at least 10,000 years. "
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