Unusual increase in Arctic permafrost wildfires

Arctic permafrost wildfires increase abnormally, burning nearly as much area in 2 years as in the past 38 years

get 2 1 1 Unusual increase in Arctic permafrost wildfires
get 2 1 3 Unusual increase in Arctic permafrost wildfires
(Image source: AdriĆ  Descals)

In 2019-2020, an unusually high number of wildfires occurred in the Siberian Arctic.

According to statistics, 423 fires occurred in the Siberian Arctic alone in 2020, seven times more than the average since 1982.

About 4.7 million hectares were overfired in 2019 and 2020, representing 44 percent of the total overfired area in the Siberian Arctic from 1982-2020.

But researchers have had difficulty in the past determining the extent to which climate change has influenced the frequency of wildfires here.

In a recent study published in Science, researchers used satellite imagery from 1982-2020 to quantify the annual area of wildfires burning in the Siberian Arctic.

The results show that temperature-related wildfire risk factors have increased in recent decades and that there is an exponential relationship between the intensity of wildfires each year and these factors.

As temperatures rise, dry weather conditions, longer summers, more vegetation and more frequent thunderstorms all contribute to wildfire risk, the researchers said.

The study warns that local temperatures are approaching critical levels and that even small warmings can lead to exponential increases in burned area and greenhouse gas releases.

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