The Arctic is a cool place, or at least it should be, but a combination of record heat and intense forest fires has turned areas in Greenland, Siberia, and Alaska into smoke-covered infernos. Scientists have watched closely as things develop, and as Earther reports, we have some really impressive satellite images of the flames from above.
The size and number of forest fires is a bit scary on their own, but their potential environmental impact is even more frightening. The flames burp up huge amounts of pollutants, and high winds can carry debris up over considerable distances that affect global air quality by 50 megatons of carbon dioxide. According to CAMS, this number corresponds to the emissions of a whole year from all over Sweden. Yes, it is a lot.
CAMS says it has detected nearly 400 forest fires in Alaska so far and the trend shows little signs of slowing. Forest fires occur regularly around the world, including the Arctic, but this summer has seen far more than its fair share.
"It is unusual for fires of this magnitude and duration to occur in such high latitudes in June," said Mark Parrington, CAMS Senior Scientist said in a statement. "But temperatures in the Arctic have risen much faster than the global average, and the warmer conditions promote the growth and persistence of fires as soon as they are ignited." even at the very edge) of the "turning point", where we can not reverse climate change. Images like this are not particularly heartwarming, especially in this context.