Largest Ever Wildfire in Greenland Continues to Burn, Can Be Seen From Space
By Joe Sandler Clarke
Local media reports said smoke from the blaze, 90 miles northeast of the small town of Sisimuit, has risen two kilometers into the air and spread hundreds of miles across the surrounding area.
The authorities in Greenland have said they don't expect the fire to go out in the coming days and have diverted traffic and canceled hiking and hunting trips near the fire.
A rare occurrence
Covered in ice and featureless grassland, wildfires are rare in Greenland, but satellite images suggest that incidents have occurred in the region in recent years.
Stef Lhermitte, of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, tweeted yesterday that the number of fires in the territory has shot up in 2017.
@ruth_mottram @blkahn @greenlandicesmb @geschichtenpost @dmidk @NASAEarth @esaclimate @USGSLandsat To wrap up: wild… https://t.co/o5CRYhXnJp— Stef Lhermitte (@Stef Lhermitte)1502128732.0
Data collected by the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) shows a sharp up-tick in CO2 emissions in Greenland from forest fires in August.
At the same time, forest fires in and around the Arctic circle have increased in recent times.
A study published in 2013 found that the Boreal Forest, which stretches around the top of the world from Russia, through Scandinavia to Canada, was burning at an "unprecedented rate."
This summer, as the European press has been filled with stories about heatwaves and wildfires in the Mediterranean, fires in northern countries have also increased.
Just last week, Climate Central reported that British Columbia in Canada was experiencing its second worst wildfire season of all time, with reports of smoke being seen as far away as Oregon in the United States.
Threat to icesheet
The increased incidents of fire in Canada is having a demonstrable impact on the Greenland icesheet.
In June, scientists from the U.S. traced vast amounts of soot from Canadian wildfires to the ice in Greenland, warning that the particles could accelerate the melting of the icesheet.
Melting #Greenland Could Raise Sea Levels by 20 Feet https://t.co/tc1Q6iBQlf @climatehawk1 @SierraClub @greenpeaceusa @foodandwater @Oceana— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1501073874.0
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated that around 270 gigatons of water are lost per year because of melting.
Marco Tedesco, a polar scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, told Energydesk that the fires appear to be "exceptional in terms of the area covered" and said that more research was needed to examine how climate change was impacting the territory.
"From a scientific point of view, we want to understand the sources of this fire. Was it an accident or a one-time event? Or was it part of a longer term trend that goes beyond the satellite data in 2000? What are the temperatures like?
"How many of these incidents have there been over the years? The good news (if any) is that today we have much better tools (remote sensing) than even just a few years ago and a higher number of scientists focusing on these topics. This hopefully will help us to shed some light on this very interesting event."
The World Health Organization has determined that red meat probably causes colorectal cancer in humans and that processed meat is carcinogenic to humans. But are there other health risks of meat consumption?
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By Julián García Walther
One morning in January, I found myself 30 feet up a tall metal pole, carrying 66 pounds of aluminum antennas and thick weatherproofed cabling. From this vantage point, I could clearly see the entire Punta Banda Estuary in northwestern Mexico. As I looked through my binoculars, I observed the estuary's sandy bar and extensive mudflats packed with thousands of migratory shorebirds frenetically pecking the mud for food.
There are currently few Motus stations in Mexico, leading to a large information gap. Julián García Walther / CC BY-ND
Red knots and many other shorebirds travel thousands of miles from breeding grounds in the Arctic (left) to nonbreeding grounds in Latin America (right). Julián García Walther / CC BY-ND
Motus stations require a high vantage point that overlooks estuaries. Julián García Walther / CC BY-ND
Any bird with a transmitter will be picked up if it flies within 12 miles (20 kilometers) of a Motus station. Julián García Walther / CC BY-ND<h2>Tagging Birds</h2><p>The stations alone can't detect these animals. The final step, which will happen in the coming months, is to catch birds and tag them. To do this, our team will set up a soft, spring-loaded net called a whoosh net in sandy areas where the red knots rest above the high-tide line. When birds walk past the net, the crew leader will release the trigger, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwMiA2iqVc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">safely trapping the birds with the net</a>.</p>
WhooshNetCapture.MTS<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6440038cdc58961906f5fa164b457688"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vwMiA2iqVc0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The world's oceans and coastal ecosystems can store remarkable amounts of carbon dioxide. But if they're damaged, they can also release massive amounts of emissions back into the atmosphere.