The Amazon rainforest has experienced 74,155 fires since January, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space research ( also known as INPE ). That’s an 84% increase in numbers from last year. According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the fire had led to a clear spike in carbon monoxide emissions as well as planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions, posing a threat to human health and aggravating global warming.
” There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the amazon region, which is just a little below average ” said Alberto Setzer, INPE researcher. The dry season is the most favorable condition for the occurrence and spread of fire, but this year has been worse than normal, according to INPE. In addition, fires are deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching.
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In addition this is not yet the peak of the fire season in Brazil, according to Mikaela Weisse, a Program Manager with Forest Watch, who closely tracks fire and deforestation trends through satellite imagery. Weisse said ” most of the fire are taking place on cleared agricultural land, but satellites may be missing flames burning beneath tree canopies“. The fire season in Brazil peaks between August and October. It’s early in the season, so what happens in the next couple of months is crucial for determining how significant this is.
In early August, INPE found that 1330 square miles of rainforest had been lost since January, which is a 40% higher than in 2018. If the amazon were to turn into a consisting net source of carbon emissions it would accelerate global warming and also lead to a huge loss of species that are not found anywhere on Earth.