On 22 June 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image of fires near Lake Baikal and the Angara River. Photo: Jeff Schmaltz / LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response

On 22 June 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image of fires near Lake Baikal and the Angara River. Photo: Jeff Schmaltz / LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response

By Mike Carlowicz
25 June 2017

(NASA) – Wildfires spread across southern Siberia in late June 2017. According to Russian state media, at least 27,000 hectares (100 square miles) were burning in the Irkutsk Oblast region. Another 27,000 hectares burned in neighboring states and regions. More than 200 firefighters were sent to control the blazes. Dry lightning and human carelessness were cited as the causes of some of the fires.

On 22 June 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired the first two natural-color images of fires near Lake Baikal and the Angara River. The next day, Aqua MODIS acquired the third image (below), which shows dense smoke plumes spreading northeast toward Yakutsk. Red outlines on each image are hot spots detected by MODIS where surface temperatures indicate the presence of fire.

According to the science team of NASA’s Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (an instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite), the aerosol index reached 19 over the Lake Baikal/Irkutsk region, indicating very dense smoke at high altitudes. Researchers are investigating at least three possible pyrocumulus cloud formations in the area; such fire clouds can loft ash and particles high into the atmosphere.

Fires Rage Near Lake Baikal


Temperatures in Siberia were up 7.2°F above normal from November 2016 to April 2017. Graphic: NASA GISS

By Brian Kahn
28 June 2017

(Climate Central) – Siberian wildfire season is off and running with multiple blazes searing the boreal forest and tundra. It’s the latest example of the vast shifts happening to the forests that cover Siberia and the rest of the northern tier of the world as climate change alters the landscape.

Those forests are burning at a rate unheard of in at least 10,000 years due largely to rising temperatures. They contain vast reserves of carbon stored in trees and soil and when they burn, they send that carbon into the atmosphere. That creates a dangerous cycle of more severe wildfires and ever rising temperatures. […]

The region where fires are burning has been a hot spot on the global temperature map. Since November, temperatures have been up to 7°F above average with some months far exceeding that mark. Climate change has been driving up temperatures around the world, but the northern tier of the planet has seen temperatures rise twice as fast.

The extra heat has caused a string of severe wildfire seasons not just in Siberia, but in other stretches of the boreal forest that also covers Canada and Alaska. Last year, a massive blaze overran Fort McMurray, Alberta and became the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history. The year prior, Alaska had an explosive early start to its wildfire season. This is the third year in a row massive fires have lit up Siberia. [more]

These NASA Images Show Siberia Burning Up

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