Climate change: Summer forest fires - highest emissions since 2007

The large number of forest fires in Europe this summer led to the highest emissions of air pollutants contained in smoke in the past 15 years.

Climate change: Summer forest fires - highest emissions since 2007

The large number of forest fires in Europe this summer led to the highest emissions of air pollutants contained in smoke in the past 15 years. The EU's Copernicus atmosphere monitoring service Cams said on Tuesday that the amount of carbon emitted by the European Union and Britain between early June and late August was estimated at 6.4 megatons - the highest since 2007.

"The combination of the August heat wave and extended dry conditions in western Europe resulted in increased numbers, intensity and duration of wildfires," the Copernicus statement said. The source of the emissions were mainly devastating fires in south-west France and on the Iberian Peninsula. The release there was even at the highest level in two decades.

"Most fires have occurred in places where climate change has increased the flammability of vegetation, such as in south-west Europe, and as we have seen in other regions in other years," said Copernicus forest fires expert Mark Parrington.

The situation in Brazil

In other regions of the northern hemisphere, where there are usually high numbers of forest fires, emissions this year were relatively low, it said. There have been several devastating fires in eastern Russia, but not as severe as in previous years. In the USA, too, the emission of air pollutants from forest fires was lower than in the past two years.

The fires in Brazil were worse than recently. In the state of Amazonas, for example, emissions were well above average in July and August.

For their estimates, the scientists from the Copernicus service evaluate satellite images of active fires. The heat output is measured, from which conclusions can be drawn about the emissions.

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