Wildfires have caused record levels of carbon emissions this year in parts of Siberia, the United States and Turkey. Many records were already set during the summer, but now that the year is slowly coming to an end, the figures are almost final. “Climate change is causing unusually severe fires,” the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service said.
According to Copernicus, by 2021, forest fires will emit 1.76 billion tons of carbon worldwide. This corresponds to more than double Germany’s annual CO2 emissions.
In some of the worst-affected regions, emissions from wildfires were highest in the January–November period since the start of the Copernicus dataset in 2003, primarily Siberia, Turkey, Tunisia and some of the Yakutia region of the western United States. The parts were covered.
“We have seen intense and prolonged forest fire activity over large areas. Dryer and warmer regional conditions under a changing climate have increased the potential for vegetation flammability and fire hazards,” said senior Copernicus scientist Mark Parrington.
Whole world Total wildfire emissions were not the highest since 2003. Still, according to Copernicus, those emissions are likely to continue to rise as the effects of climate change unfold.
Yakutia in northeastern Siberia produced the most CO2 emissions from wildfires since 2003. However, Western Siberia did not fare much better. There, a “large number” of wildfires were much higher than the average for the 2003–2021 period, with enormous daily CO2 emissions.
In North America, fires in Canada, California and the US Pacific Northwest emitted about 83 million tons of CO2. According to Copernicus, this created huge plumes of smoke that swept across the Atlantic to reach Europe.
The California “Dixie Fire”, which destroyed nearly one million acres, was the largest recorded fire in state history.
In the Mediterranean Sea, a hot and dry summer caused massive fires in countries such as Greece and Turkey. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes in those countries, and Copernicus said the air quality in those areas was deteriorating. Forest fires release high levels of harmful substances, which can have an impact on the health of residents.
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