The arctic wildfires resulting from a recent heatwave has resulted in 245 megatonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted already so far this year. In fact, we’ve had a 35% increase in CO2 levels in the first 8 months of 2020 than we saw in the whole of 2019.
Talking to the Guardian, Dr Thomas Smith, assistant professor in environmental geography at the London School of Economics, explains that many of the fires are over ancient, high carbon, peat bogs, which results in a process similar to fossil fuel burning.
Authorities have observed approx. 600 fires so far this year, a raise of 200 from last year – a frightening escalation and even more worrying is the fact that the average numbers of fire sightings between 2003 and 2018 was about 100 a year.
Soot and pollutants from the fires make polar sea ice less reflective, resulting in more heat absorption and faster melting. The fires are also causing serious health problems (resulting from the thick smog it produces) for people living in towns and cities across the region.