Record summer for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe


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Scientists from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) have reported a record for summer wildfire activity in southwestern Europe amid heatwaves and dry conditions. The latest data shows that increasing wildfire emission in western France and the Iberian Peninsula while Europe continues to experience extreme and prolonged hot and dry conditions.

The data shows France recording the highest estimated carbon emissions from wildfires for June, July and August since 2003 in the Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS) dataset as of 11 August 2022.

GFAS is based on satellite observations of active fires and Fire Radiative Power (FRP), which is a measure of fire intensity, to estimate emissions of carbon and a wide range of other air pollutants that make up smoke, and provides a 20-year dataset.

CAMS, which is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission with funding from the European Union, continues to monitor wildfires following the ongoing heatwave and prolonged dry conditions in the region.

Mark Parrington, Senior Scientist from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, commented: “We have been monitoring an increase in the number and resulting emissions of wildfires as heatwave conditions have exacerbated fires in southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula.

“The very extreme fire danger ratings that have been forecasted for large areas of southern Europe mean that the scale and intensity of any fires can be greatly increased, and this is what we have been observing in our emissions estimates and the impacts it has on local air quality”.

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