This summer’s carbon emissions from Arctic wildfires were a third higher than last year’s previous record levels, research suggests.
The atmospheric monitoring service Copernicus says the fires which blazed during summer’s heatwaves are a cause for concern.
They say some so-called zombie fires are smouldering through the winter in peat below the frozen surface.
These underground fires then re-ignite surface vegetation in the Spring.
This spells double trouble: not just CO2 emissions from the burning vegetation, but also from the peat which is naturally a store for CO2.
The researchers estimate that from the start of January to the end of August, Arctic CO2 emissions from fires were 244 megatonnes.
That’s a huge figure – similar to the total for the whole economy of, say, Malaysia or Eygpt.