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The Arctic Region Is Now Having Wildfires

Angelique Anne Villa

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• Parts of the Arctic Region including Alaska, Alberta, Greenland, and Siberia, which are known for icy landscapes, are now having more wildfires.
• Perre Markuse, a geography enthusiast has collected satellite images of the blazes running across the upper part of the northern hemisphere.

When we talk about wildfires, a lot would think about Australia and California. But arctic forests are prone to natural firestarters like lightning strikes and the spontaneous combustion of dry fuel such as sawdust and leaves.

The CAMS (Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service) publicized data from May that reveals that these fires are responsible for releasing 55 megatons of carbon dioxide. Although many say that wildfires in the arctic region are common in July and August, we cannot deny that these occurrences will double due to climate change.

Moreover, Greenland has lost more than two billion tons of ice in just a day in June which greatly shows the worsening effect of climate change. This is due to low Albedo feedback. The lower the albedo, the more radiation Earth absorbs causing temperatures to rise. 

Scientists and climate change advocates have been very vocal about the Arctic region appearing to warm twice as much.

Both Alaska and Siberia are recorded to have the most wildfires for this year, as of July. CAMS reported that the registered count is 400 wildfires with new one igniting every day. That is more than any state in the United States record this year, according to NASA.

Greenland, despite its wide icy landscapes, is also experiencing an unusually warm and dry summer making it vulnerable to wildfires. Washington Post reported that Greenland’s ice sheet began to melt a month earlier and scientist are keeping a close eye on it if it would surpass the record melt of 2012.

Wildfires emit many types of pollutants that affect our health and even though most of the Arctic Circle is not very populated, residents cannot escape the pollution brought upon by the wildfires. Some of the wildfires in Alaska and Siberia run almost 100,000 football pitches or the whole of Lanzarote.

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