Fires raging in the Amazon rainforest can now be seen from space
SATELLITE IMAGERY released by NASA earlier today depicts rivers of smoke across Brazil and other South American countries, as fires continue to rage in the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest tropical forest.
Wildfires during the July–August dry season are common, however, data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) found that there have been 73,000 fires, an 83 per cent increase over the same period in 2018.
Una de las razones de la bruma primaveral en la zona del Rio de la Plata y Centro es el "Rio de Humo"desde la Amazonas: el Low Level Jet sudamericano favorece el transporte de material particulado de las quemas en el norte hacia el sur @NASA_es @meteonacho @SMN_TucumanObs pic.twitter.com/8cBNb5Gfw4
— Santiago Gassó (@SanGasso) August 7, 2019
On 20 August, the smoke turned the Brazilian city of São Paulo black, prompting major concerns for the Amazon rainforest, leading to the #PrayforAmazonas hashtag, which has now been tweeted over a million times.
With the loss of vast swathes of rainforest, scientists are concerned about the impact the fires may have on the carbon cycle. Rainforests store large amounts of CO2, which, when released, warm the Earth’s climate.
According to data from the INPE, released in July 2019, 1000sq.km of the Amazon rainforest had been cleared in the first 15 days of July – an increase of 68 per cent from the entire month of July 2018.
Scientists from the INPE said that deforestation in the Amazon had increased under President Jair Bolsonaro, who was elected in 2018 on a platform of increasing development in the rainforest.
Conservationists say that Bolsonaro’s stance on development in the Amazon rainforest has emboldened farmers and loggers, who have been known to deliberately set the fires.
The fires have been raging for three weeks now, and since last Thursday, almost 10,000 new fires have been spotted via NASA’s satellite images.
Smoke from wildfires in the #AmazonRainforest spreads across several Brazilian states in this natural-color image taken by a @NASAEarth instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite. Although it is fire season in Brazil, the number of fires may be record-setting: https://t.co/NVQrffzntr pic.twitter.com/4JTcBz9C8f
— NASA (@NASA) August 21, 2019