08:09 GMT +317 November 2019
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    Out of Control Arctic Wildfires Burning at Rate Unseen in at Least 10,000 Years, Scientists Warn

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    Satellite images of the fires, raging across wide swathes of Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland and northern Russia, show the destruction of forests not thought to have burned this intensely for thousands of years.

    Millions of hectares of forests across the planet’s northernmost regions are on fire, with firefighters struggling to battle the blazes, often caused by lightning strikes, and often taking place in remote and uninhabited areas which are difficult to access, scientists have warned.

    Pierre Markuse, a German satellite photography expert, has been uploading and enhancing images taken from NASA satellites, showing hundreds of raging blazes wreaking havoc across vast areas of the northern hemisphere.

    Dr. Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at Denmark’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, which monitors wildfire emissions and their impact on the atmosphere, wrote that it was “fair to say” that July’s “Arctic Circle wildfires are now at unprecedented levels, having surpassed previous highest Copernicus GFAS estimated July total CO2 emission” from the years 2004-2005, as well as June’s 50 megatonnes in total emissions.

    That much CO2 is more than released annually by many small countries, with Sweden and Hungary releasing about 50.8 megatonnes in 2017, according to EU figures.

    Earlier this month, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) explained that the risk of Arctic wildfires have risen together with rising temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns.

    According to the UN-affiliated agency, the Earth’s boreal forests, found in the Northern hemisphere, “are burning at a rate unseen in at least 10,000 years,” spewing CO2 into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.

    Last week, a climate scientist from Berkeley Earth told the Atlantic that July 2019 was on course to becoming the hottest month on record. 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 are already ranked among the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s top ten hottest years globally ever recorded since the agency was formed in 1807.


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