The devastating forest fires that ravaged Europe this summer caused the highest emissions for 15 years, scientists at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) stressed on Tuesday.
Emissions resulting from forest fires in the European Union and the United Kingdom between 1 June and 31 August 2022 amounted to an estimated 6.4 megatonnes of carbon, the highest level for summer months since 2007.
The combination of the August heat wave and prolonged dry conditions in Western Europe resulted in increased wildfire activity, intensity and persistence, CAMS noted. France and Spain thus experienced their highest emissions due to forest fires in the last 20 years.
The scale and persistence of the fires in southwestern Europe are leading to the highest emissions in Europe in 15 years, and have been extremely concerning throughout Summer, according to CAMS wildfire expert and scientist Mark Parrington.
Most of the fires occurred in places where climate change has increased the flammability of vegetation, such as in southwestern Europe, a trend also observed in recent years in other regions, he explained.
CAMS is now closely monitoring emissions caused by fire and the movement of smoke in the Amazon region and across South America as the fire season there approaches.