The Copernicus Program of the European Space Agency has detected an increase in fires in the Arctic Circle, accentuated so far in 2020. The great fires that have ravaged the planet’s tree masses in the last year are cause for alarm. The Amazon has suffered one of the worst disasters in its history, while in Australia the flames seemed unstoppable. But although these have turned out to be more mediatic, they are not the only ones. Nor are the only ones worrying. Fires in the Arctic Circle have increased sharply in 2019 and 2020.
This is shown by the data collected by the Copernicus Program of the European Space Agency. Thanks to its tools, it is possible to measure carbon emissions into the atmosphere. So far this year the fires in the Arctic Circle have been more virulent, if possible. And this is of paramount importance for the entire planet. In this region, it contains forests and also an ecosystem that is basic for the planet, the tundra.
The Copernicus Program has been collecting data for 18 years and the last two have been the most disastrous. The fires in the Arctic Circle, in June, increased to an alarming level. In fact, if the 2019 and 2020 records are taken and compared with the previous 16 years, in the last two months of June more carbon was emitted into the atmosphere than in the previous 16.
The rhythm of emissions in the months of June is shown in a graph, provided by the Copernicus Program. The grey bars are the average emissions between 2003 and 2018. The yellow bars represent the year 2019 and the red bars, 2020. It is clear that the coloured bars are well above the average of the previous 16 years. While despite the peaks of 2019, this year has been even worse.
The Risks of Fires in the Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle region has certain peculiarities that make it a key area for the regulation of the planet. The risk of deterioration in this area is not only in the melting of the pole. Also, the elimination of vegetal mass has an impact on the whole of the globe.
There are great forests that are within the Polar Circle. They are usually located on the edge of it and you can almost say that they act as a screen. The warmer climate in the south stops before these great arboreal masses. And behind them is the tundra. It is low vegetation, with a rich ecosystem that is sustained on permafrost. This permanently frozen layer contains large amounts of accumulated organic carbon. Its thawing would lead to the release of a huge emission of greenhouse gases.
If the fires in the Arctic Circle increase, not only emissions are released into the atmosphere. The loss of these biomes leads to a drying of the areas and warming of them. All of this could affect permafrost.