Approximately 6,375,000 tons of CO2 were released into the atmosphere by forest fires between 1 January and 30 November 2019, the EU Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) said on Thursday.
Exceptional activity, both in terms of fire intensity and emissions, was observed in 2019 by scientists.
CAMS watches forest fire activity around the world throughout the year. Wildfires are common in nature, with some areas decidedly more at risk than others depending on the time of year.
“Many fires made the headlines, including the Amazon, Indonesia, the Arctic and Australia,” the CAMS said. “But other less known events also effected visibly the environment and air quality: Colombia, Venezuela, Syria and Mexico.”
“It’s been a busy year for surveillance,” CAMS Scientist Mark Parrington said. “Throughout the year, we have kept a close eye on the intensity of fires and on the smoke released into the atmosphere. There was sometimes an extraordinary number of active fires and some activities were surprising.”
CAMS was referring in particular to fires within the Arctic Circle seen as “unprecedented in terms of location, size and duration.” The data also showed that fires in Australia, which began in September and intensified in November “were worse than anything observed during the previous 16 years.”