• Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Summer wildfires emit record amount of CO2

  • Published at 12:34 pm September 22nd, 2021
Firefighters and volunteers try to extinguish a wildfire burning in the village of Galatsona
Firefighters and volunteers try to extinguish a wildfire burning in the village of Galatsona, in Greece on August 9, 2021 Reuters

Globally, forests going up in flames emitted more than 2.5 billion tons of CO2

Wildfires in Siberia, North America and around the Mediterranean caused record levels of planet-warming CO2 emissions this summer, the EU's Earth monitoring service said on Tuesday.

Globally, forests going up in flames emitted more than 2.5 billion tons of CO2 -- equivalent to India's annual emissions from all sources -- in July and August alone, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) reported.

More than half of CO2 emissions from wildfires in July came from North America and Siberia.

Heatwaves, drought conditions, and reduced soil moisture amplified by global warming have contributed to unprecedented fires in three continents.

Even the Arctic Circle was on fire, releasing some 66 million tons of CO2 from June through August, with nearly a billion tons from Russia as a whole over the same period.

"What stood out as unusual were the number of fires, the size of the area in which they were burning, their intensity, and also their persistence," said Mark Parrington, senior scientist and wildfire expert at CAMS.

Fires started raging across north-eastern Siberia in June and only started to abate in late August and early September, the satellite-based monitoring service reported.

Emissions for the region from June through August were nearly double compared to the year before.

Burnable area doubled

While satellite images do not reveal how these fires start, many of the blazes early in the summer are thought to have been caused by "zombie" fires that smoulder through the winter and then reignite. 

In the western US and Canada's British Columbia -- which saw record temperatures nearing 50°C -- fires ravaged huge swathes of forest.

Massive plumes of smoke from Siberia and North America moved across the Atlantic, reaching Britain and parts of Europe in August.

Nations along the Mediterranean rim, meanwhile, saw uncontrolled wildfires of their own, made worse by persistent heatwaves. 

Daily fire intensity for Turkey reached the highest levels ever recorded in the nearly 20-year dataset. Other countries scorched by out-of-control blazes included Greece, Italy, Albania, North Macedonia, Algeria and Tunisia. 

Fires hit Spain and Portugal in August. Rising temperatures and increased dryness due to changing rainfall patterns create ideal conditions for bush or forest fires. 

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has reported that the five-year period to 2020 was "unprecedented" for fires, especially in Europe and North America.

"Globally, increases in temperature and aridity have increased the length of fire seasons and doubled potential burnable area," the UN’s IPCC climate science advisory panel concluded in a draft report obtained by AFP.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail