Drought and fires, “emissions from summer fires in Europe highest in 15 years”

The findings of Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams)

The forest fires in Europe caused the highest level of emissions in the last 15 years. The combination of the August heat wave with prolonged drought conditions across Western Europe resulted in an increase in the activity, intensity and persistence of forest fires. This is what Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams) reports.

According to data distributed by Cams Global Fire Assimilation System (Gfas), which makes use of satellite observations relating to the location of forest fires and the Radiative Power of Fire (Frp) – a measure of intensity to estimate the emissions of atmospheric pollutants present in the smoke – total emissions for EU and UK forest fires from 1 June to 31 August 2022 are estimated to be 6.4 megatonnes of carbon, the highest level for these months since summer 2007.

Cams, implemented by the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (Ecmwf) on behalf of the European Commission and funded by the European Union, reports that “the emissions detected in summer 2022 were largely caused by the devastating fires that affected southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsulawith France and Spain with the highest number of emissions caused by forest fires in the last 20 years “.

“The scale and persistence of the fires in southwestern Europe, which caused the highest level of emissions in Europe in the past 15 years, have been extremely worrying throughout the summer. Most of the fires have occurred in places where climate change has increased the flammability of vegetation, such as in southwestern Europe and as we have seen in other regions in other years. Cams is closely monitoring current emissions from fires and the transport of smoke in the Amazon region and throughout South America, as the peak of the fire season arrives in the coming weeks, ”explains Mark Parrington, Senior Scientist and forest fire expert at Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.