NewsClimate expert: Forest fires in Russia "very worrying"

Climate expert: Forest fires in Russia "very worrying"

According to climate expert Kirsten Thonicke, the extent of the devastating forest fires in eastern Russia is “very worrying”. “For the third year in a row we have had an extreme fire year there.”

Jakutsk / Potsdam – According to the climate expert Kirsten Thonicke, the extent of the devastating forest fires in eastern Russia is “very worrying”. “For the third year in a row we have had an extreme fire year there”

That said the forest fire expert from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). According to this, forest areas burn on a scale that otherwise only occurs every 10 to 15 years.

Millions of hectares of forest have already been burned in the Republic of Yakutia. The smoke moved thousands of kilometers to the west inland. According to the US space agency Nasa, the smoke has now even reached the North Pole.

“It happens every now and then. At the moment, the current is carrying the smoke into the Arctic, ”explained Thonicke. Soot and dust particles at the North Pole then settled on the ice. The particles would have an influence on the reflection of the sunlight: “This can briefly increase melting because the dark particles absorb the sunlight.”

Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane are particularly harmful to the climate

Worldwide, the forest and wildfires have already released around 5.5 billion tons of harmful greenhouse gases this year. “That is more than in the same period in previous years,” said the forest fire expert at the German Press Agency in Moscow. The amount fluctuates annually between 5.6 billion and 7.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane. “The global figures are comparable to the emissions that are released worldwide each year through the use of natural gas.”

Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane are particularly harmful to the climate, said Thonicke. “Via the greenhouse effect, they have a long-term impact on warming and changes in the climate.” According to the fires in Siberia and the Arctic, almost 250 million tons of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere last year alone. That is a third of Germany’s total CO2 emissions.

However, there are fluctuations in global emissions, said the researcher. “We have a long-term trend that the burned areas are decreasing globally and emissions are decreasing to a certain extent – but in the past three years we have seen that regions in which fires traditionally occur are experiencing new extremes.” This also includes Siberia . dpa

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