‘Zombie’ fires may have reignited in the Arctic circle following an unusually warm spring, scientists have warned.
The smouldering piles were picked up by satellites monitoring emissions from the region and are expected to spread and increase in number as the seasons change.
It comes after an estimated 50 megatonnes of carbon dioxide were emitted due to burning tundra in June last year, placing more of the harmful gas into the atmosphere.
Scientists said the fire warning follows higher than average April temperatures in Siberia and northern and coastal Greenland
The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) made the observations after monitoring escaping gases from outer space.
They said higher than average temperatures were recorded in Greenland and northern and coastal Siberia in April this year.
CAMS Senior Scientist and wildlife expert Mark Parrington said: ‘We have seen satellite observations of active fires that hint that ‘zombie’ fires might have reignited, yet it has not been confirmed by ground measurements.
‘The anomalies are quite widespread in areas that were burning last summer.
‘If this is the case, then under certain environmental conditions, we may see a cumulative effect of last year’s fire season in the Arctic which will feed into the upcoming season and could lead to large-sclae and long-term fires across the same region once again.’
Smoke from wildfires pictured in Fairbanks, Alaska, last year. Scientists fear there may be more fires than usual this year as well
Stretches of the Arctic, Siberia and Greenland went up in flames last year after unusually high temperatures fuelled wild fires.
Climatologists have warned an area of around 100,000 football pitches was lost, or roughly the same size as Lanzarote.
The fires pose a serious risk as they can trigger permafrost melt which leads to carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere, the destabilisation of glaciers and sea level rise.
Methane gases trapped in the ice could also be released.
Source: Daily Mail – Articles