Tracking Wildfires from Space
Mediterranean region evolves into wildfire hotspot, while fire intensity reaches new records in Turkey
The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service is observing closely the wildfire activities in the eastern Mediterranean region. In Turkey and southern Italy, CAMS data shows the emissions and intensity of wildfires are rapidly increasing and countries like Morocco, Albania, Greece, North Macedonia and Lebanon are also affected.
The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission with funding from the EU, monitors the severe wildfires in the Mediterranean area, where some fires are burning close to coastal resorts and have led to evacuations. Smoke plumes from the fires are clearly visible in satellite imagery crossing the Eastern Mediterranean Basin from southern Turkey.
With Southeast Europe currently experiencing heatwave conditions, the fire danger remains high in the area, especially across much of Turkey and around the Mediterranean. CAMS data show that the daily total Fire Radiative Power (FRP) for Turkey has reached unprecedented values in the entire dataset, which goes back to 2003.
Furthermore, CAMS scientists report that the wildfires are emitting large amounts of smoke pollution into the atmosphere. Forecasts for Aerosol Optical Depth and surface PM2.5 concentrations provided by CAMS show high values in Turkey and over the Eastern Mediterranean area, reflecting the severe magnitude of the fires. In addition, other neighbouring countries are increasingly affected by the fires as the days go by. Several wildfires have also occurred in Italy, Albania, Morocco, Greece, North Macedonia and Lebanon since the end of July. Heatwave conditions are further increasing the fire danger in this area.
Mark Parrington, Senior Scientist and wildfire expert at the ECMWF Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, comments:
“We are closely monitoring the intensity of fires in Turkey and around the Mediterranean area and the impacts they are having on the atmosphere. It is especially important to closely watch these high intensity fires as the smoke they emit can have impacts on air quality locally and downwind. Our data provides near-real-time information on the intensity of the fires and the wider scale impacts, like the effects of their smoke emissions and their impact on air quality.”
The Global ECMWF Fire Forecast (GEFF) system provides inputs for the Fire Danger Forecast of the Copernicus Emergency Service. The European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) fire danger forecast shows very high to extreme values for southeast Europe. This is not unusual for this time of the year, however, the heatwaves in the areas provide the perfect grounds for fires to spread in case of ignition. Indeed, fires also need ignition, which cannot be explained by the hot and dry conditions alone, but rather a combination of several factor including human actions.
More information on wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere during summer 2021: https://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/large-wildfires-across-northern-hemisphere
The CAMS Global Fire Monitoring Page can be accessed here: https://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/fire-monitoring
Find out more about fire monitoring in the CAMS Wildfire Q&As: https://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/qa-wildfires
Copernicus is a component of the European Union’s space programme, with funding by the EU, and is its flagship Earth observation programme, which operates through six thematic services: Atmosphere, Marine, Land, Climate Change, Security and Emergency. It delivers freely accessible operational data and services providing users with reliable and up-to-date information related to our planet and its environment. The programme is coordinated and managed by the European Commission and implemented in partnership with the Member States, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), EU Agencies and Mercator Océan, amongst others.
ECMWF operates two services from the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation programme: the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). They also contribute to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS), which is implemented by the EU Joint Research Council (JRC). The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an independent intergovernmental organisation supported by 34 states. It is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions to its Member States. This data is fully available to the national meteorological services in the Member States. The supercomputer facility (and associated data archive) at ECMWF is one of the largest of its type in Europe and Member States can use 25% of its capacity for their own purposes.
ECMWF is expanding its location across its Member States for some activities. In addition to an HQ in the UK and Computing Centre in Italy, new offices with a focus on activities conducted in partnership with the EU, such as Copernicus, will be located in Bonn, Germany from Summer 2021.
The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service website can be found at http://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/
The Copernicus Climate Change Service website can be found at https://climate.copernicus.eu/
Source of the original ECMWF press release here.
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