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SIBERIA IS BURNING – Climate detectives – Expedition Home
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Vegetation and Forestry


Date : 02/08/2020
Number of team members : 1
Team member age : 14 years old
What source did you use for the image : EO Browser

I took this image captured by the Sentinel-2 satellite on the 31st of July 2020 with the help of a custom script that allows people to view fires from above. The picture shows a recent wildfire in Verkhoyansk, a town in the Siberian region of Russia. Normally one of the coldest spots on Earth [lowest temperature: −67.8 °C], Verkhoyansk broke its all-time record on the 20th of June 2020, reaching 38°C. But what are the wide-scale effects of such a climate issue? 
To visualize the size of the damage, imagine that the burned area in Siberia since the beginning of 2020 is bigger than the surface of Greece. Besides vegetation fires, the heatwave resulted in loss of permafrost, and an invasion of pests. By definition, permafrost is ground that remains frozen for at least two years and also contains skeletons of prehistoric animals. Therefore, as permafrost thaws, the bodies decompose and great amounts of carbon gases preaching global warming are released. This is a huge threat not only to the small city, but to the whole planet, as temperatures increase globally, possibly resulting in melting of glaciers and rise in sea levels.  

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