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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Mapping Fires

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, December 16, 2019/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, video, space science, sustainability, environment, adventure , climate change


The Copernicus Program of the European Union has created a map to show the extent of wildfires in 2019. During the past year, blazes were battled in the Amazon rainforest, in the Siberian tundra, California, Australia, and even Greenland where shrubs caught fire in once bog-like peat lands. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, or CAMS, gathered fire data from the Sentinel Earth monitoring satellites to build their global map. Continuous monitoring of wildfires formed the basis for the data animation with each dot representing a single fire measured by the satellites.

Australia has particularly struggled with some of the worst wildfires in its history this year. The situation has been compounded by several years of severe drought conditions affecting the eastern states of New South Wales and Queensland. The severity of the droughts were amplified by a warming climate which turned Eucalyptus-dominated landscapes tinder dry. The droughts have been a disaster for rural agricultural towns as well as native wildlife and Summer has yet to arrive. Mega-fires could still occur.

                                      Australian wildfires, November 2019 (credit: BBC)

Atmospheric models had predicted impacts from climate change would not become an issue until mid-21st Century. The impacts have begun to unfold now.



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