The ferocious forest fires that raged in parts of Europe this summer have caused the highest emissions of carbon and other pollutants in 15 years. Scientists at Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation programme, have determined this using satellite data.
Scientists estimate carbon emissions in the European Union plus the United Kingdom at 6.4 megatons. Since the summer of 2007, the meters have not gone up that much.
According to Copernicus, the combination of a heat wave in August and a persistent drought in western Europe has not only led to more forest fires. The fires were also very intense and long lasting.
France and Spain in particular suffered devastating forest fires. In those countries, the associated emissions were the highest in twenty years, according to researchers from the EU service.
The Netherlands also suffers more and more forest fires
There were also several forest fires in the Netherlands. For example, the Mariapeel nature reserve in North Limburg still smolders. The fire burned there for days, resulting in a great deal of smoke nuisance.
Copernicus regularly points out that high temperatures and droughts are becoming more common due to climate change. This is also apparent from various reports from the IPCC, an international panel of United Nations climate scientists. Copernicus bushfire expert Mark Parrington called the scale of the fires “extremely worrying” in a statement.
After the hot summer in Europe, Copernicus will also keep a close eye on the Amazon region with satellites in the near future. There, in a few weeks, the time of year will begin when there are usually more forest fires.
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