During the three months of this year’s wildfires in Europe, 6.4 megatons of carbon were released into the atmosphere as smoke. Europe’s Copernicus Air Monitoring Service said Wednesday this was the largest release of an air pollutant since 2007. The fires in Europe this year were more intense and lasted longer than in other years, officials added.
Copernicus scientists use satellite observations of fire sites to estimate carbon emissions. They focus primarily on the European Union and UK regions, where fires in south-west France and Spain accounted for the largest share of emissions this year, while Bohemia and Saxony his Switzerland. Fires were not so bad either. France and Spain posted their highest emissions in 20 years this year.
In the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, where summer fire activity usually peaks, total estimated emissions are significantly lower than in recent years. The Russian Far East had fewer fires this year than in other years, but central and western Russia had more fires than usual. was the largest since 2010, when it hit western Russia.
In the western United States, this year’s seasonal emissions are significantly lower than the last two summers, returning to normal. In the report, the scientists also recalled that fires have been going on in Alaska since May and in Canada’s Yukon since the end of June. During the first few days of September, there was a marked increase in fires across the Amazon region, and smoke blanketed the skies of South America, where emissions were well above average.
The Copernicus Program is part of the European Union’s Space Program, a collaboration between the European Commission and the European Comics Agency.