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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Greeenland Is Burning

Greeenland Is Burning

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, August 11, 2017/Categories: natural history, photography, space science, sustainability, environment, climate change

                          Fires Near Sisimiut, Greenland 8-3-2017 (credit: Land-imaging Camera Landsat-8

While Greenland is primarily covered by a massive ice cap with glaciers entering the ocean, few people realize that some parts of the island have vegetation. Portions of this green, groundcover is now burning.

NASA's  Suomi polar orbiting satellite, using an infared sensor on its camera, detected smoke in western Greenland where vegetation of dwarf willows, shrubs, grasses, and mosses cover coastal areas. Following a second fly-by of the Landsat-8 satellite, imagery was captured of the extent of the current fires ~90 miles north of the second largest town in Greenland, Sisimiut with 5000+ residents. The fire may be burning through bogs of peat, semi-decomposed organic matter.

Tundra fires have been reported before but research analysis of the new imagery indicates the two environmental satellites have detected far more fire activity in 2017 than any year since the satellites began gathering data in 2000. As one of the NASA investigators said:

"...from the global wildfire science community that I am a part of, we would have never thought the we would need to make a wildfire history to understand the fire regime in Greenland."


              Fires Near Sisimiut, Greenland 8-3-2017 (credit: Land-imaging Camera Landsat-8

The past three years have each exceeded the previous as being "the hottest year on record", rainstorms and lightening now occur in the far north, and climate change in the Arctic continues faster than anywhere else around the world. This likely will not be the last series of 'Greenland Is Burning' images to be acquired by the satellite-based environmental monitors.



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