Forest fires produced a record amount of carbon emissions in parts of Siberia, the United States and Turkey in 2021, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Program Atmosphere Monitoring Service.
With unusually intense burning due to global warming, the fires emitted 1.76 billion tons of carbon globally in 2021, according to the institution. This equates to more than double Germany’s annual CO2 emissions.
Some of the hardest-hit sites have recorded their highest fire emissions in any January-November period since Copernicus data analysis began in 2003. These include parts of the Yakutia region of Siberia, Turkey, Tunisia and western U.S.
“We saw large regions experiencing intense and prolonged forest fires. Drier and warmer regional conditions under a changing climate have increased the risk of flammability and the risk of fire in vegetation,” said Copernicus Senior Scientist Mark Parrington.
Globally, total forest fire emissions have not been the highest since 2003, but the Copernicus institute says these emissions are likely to increase as the impacts of climate change unfold.
Yakutia, in northeast Siberia, has produced its highest CO2 emissions from wildfires in any summer since 2003, while in western Siberia a “large number” of fires produced daily CO2 emissions far above the 2003-2021 average.
In North America, fires in Canada, California and the US Northwest emitted about 83 million tons of CO2, causing huge clouds of smoke to cross the Atlantic and into Europe, Copernicus said.
California’s “Dixie fire,” which devastated nearly a million acres, was the biggest fire in the state’s history.
In the Mediterranean, a hot and dry summer spread intense flames in countries like Greece and Turkey. Thousands of people in these countries have been evacuated from their homes, and, according to the institute, the region’s air quality has greatly deteriorated due to high levels of specific health-damaging issues.
Reference: CNN Brasil