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Climate crisis: Forest fires release record amounts of carbon dioxide


Scientists have analyzed the global forest fires of 2021 - and bad news: the fires caused twice as much CO₂ as Germany produces per year.

Enlarge image

"Dixie" fire in California in August

Photo: Noah Berger / dpa

The global forest fires released significantly more carbon dioxide this year than in the past.

The fires in Siberia, Canada, the USA and Turkey destroyed so many trees that an estimated 1,760 megatons of CO2 have been released into the atmosphere.

That corresponds to roughly double the amount that Germany produces per year, reports the Guardian.

For the analysis of forest fires and their consequences, scientists from the Copernicus atmosphere monitoring service have been evaluating satellite images of active fires since 2003.

The heat output is measured, from which conclusions can be drawn about the emissions.

The experts had already reported new record values ​​in the summer.

One of the biggest fires this year was the Dixie fire in California, the most devastating in the history of the US state.

An estimated 83 megatons of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere.

Climate change increases the risk of forest fires

The Copernicus researchers report that the high number of forest fires, their extent and the high intensity of the fires were exceptional this year.

While a large part of the emissions was released in the forest fires in Russia, Canada and the USA, it also burned frequently in Europe - for example in Portugal, Spain, Greece, North Macedonia and Albania.

Turkey was hit even harder.

In the Mediterranean area, extremely high temperatures had increased the risk of forest fires.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.

The fires also impaired air quality, for example through harmful particulate matter.

Waves of intoxication also moved from Siberia to Europe.

There was also a fire at the Arctic Circle that year.

»We have experienced intense and long-lasting forest fires in many regions.

Drought and heat as a result of climate change have increased the risk of forest fires, ”said Copernicus chief scientist Mark Parrington.

It is therefore also likely that the number of forest fires will continue to rise in the future - and with it the amount of carbon dioxide released.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-12-08

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