The Arctic Circle is on fire for the second consecutive year! The intense fires have reignited in the Arctic Circle – the polar region atop Earth.
Siberia has been excessively warm in the last six months and the temperature is predicted to increase by triple digits. This has broken old and set new records for the region! Last year, unexpected fires burned throughout the Arctic Circle and research shows that the intensity of the fire was the same as the ones that are currently alert.
These fires are highly concerning as the burned forest and vegetation release large amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is amongst the primary gases present in the dangerous smokes. It is being said that the last two years have caused more damage than the past 18 years have caused altogether.
"The two years together is quite alarming. I don't use that word lightly."
In fact, studies conducted by the World Meteorological Organization show that in only six weeks last year, the Arctic fires released more CO2 into the atmosphere than Sweden does in one year.
Climate change is already a significant cause of concern and the recent fires are simply enhancing the dangerous repercussions. The recent fires have given one confirmation and that’s the dramatic evolution of the Arctic Circle.
"With confidence, we can say that this does appear to be an increasing trend of fire. There’s some shift occurring." – said Jessica McCarty, an Arctic fire researcher and assistant professor in the Department of Geography at Miami University.
She further concluded that the recent fires in the region “are an interesting finding.” However, she also mentioned that it will take a few more years to properly investigate the pattern or trends in the region.
Smith carried out a complete analysis which included forested areas, shrublands, and tundras. She reveals that the ground in some of these areas is lapped with peat which is essentially a thick deposit of carbon that plays a critical role in releasing important greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane.
She said, "You're losing a carbon store. It is thousands of years old. If we're thinking about climate change, it's going to take thousands of years for that carbon to accumulate [in the soil and vegetation] again."
“For each fire detection (hotspot, red triangles on the maps), I extracted the land cover type and whether the fire occurred on a known peatland. Results suggest fires in both taiga/boreal forest and tundra regions, with a good proportion of fires on peatland.” – She added.
This is only the beginning as more burning and immense fires are expected over the summer. The weather will continue to grow warmer in the region. Hence, this can verify that the heat waves occurring today are critically warmer than the ones that occurred earlier.