Zombie fires scorching the Arctic have ignited record-high carbon emissions than the region released in the entirety of 2019. Scientists believe increasing temperatures due to climate change and wildfires may be spurring the region into a fiery new normal. As per satellite surveillance from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, fires in the Arctic sent 244 megatons of carbon skyward, compared to 181 megatons in the whole of 2019, itself a record high, between January and the end of August.
According to the report of Andrew Freedman
A report by Andrew Freedman of the Washington Post in June states that most of the zombie fires burning occurred in Russia’s Sakha Republic. The region witnessed Verkhoyansk, the Siberian town to hit 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit in between the blistering heatwaves, the highest temperature ever documented above the Arctic Circle. According to Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, what ignited the zombie fires is hard to pinpoint, but some of the early season blazes are thought to have been set zombie fires that sprang to life after burning underground through the winter.
Zombie fires: Another report by Kate Wheeling
Another report Kate Wheeling explains the reason behind zombie fires. According to the report Arctic soils are often densely packed with combustible organic matter, such as peat, above-ground fires that burn themselves out can leave the ground burning. When winter comes, snow can actually cushion the smoking mat from the cold air above as it consumes peat and pockets of combustible methane gas. These conditions can sometimes allow a zombie fire to keep burning until temperatures warm and the snow melts away. Once the snow is melted, a zombie fire can once again ignite the vegetation grown above. These leftovers from the 2019 fire season may have kick-started this year’s already record-setting Arctic emissions, and the warmer temperatures caused by climate change have prepped the landscape for massive, long-burning conflagrations.
California’s fire season continues to rage
The alarming statistics come as California’s fire season continues to burn, triggered by record-setting heat and high winds. Climate change has made the state drier and hotter over the past 20 years, per the Guardian, a period that has included 15 of the 20 largest wildfires in California’s history.