26 July 2023
Greece has recently experienced a devastating surge in wildfires, resulting in the highest carbon emissions recorded for the month of July in the last two decades, according to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). The intensity and emissions from these wildfires in the eastern Mediterranean, particularly in Greece, have reached alarming levels.
Since July 17th, numerous wildfires have been wreaking havoc across Greece, with the ones in Attica and Rhodes garnering significant attention. These wildfires have contributed to a record-breaking 1 megaton of carbon emissions between July 1st and July 25th, nearly double the previous July 2007 record. The fires have burned fiercely for several days, exacerbating the emission levels.
The ongoing heatwave affecting Greece and the wider Mediterranean region has elevated the risk of wildfires, further aggravating the situation. Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at CAMS, emphasizes the need for continued monitoring of fire emissions and potential air quality impacts in the region, with several more weeks remaining in the summer.
CAMS forecasts particulate matter and other pollutant levels associated with wildfire emissions, allowing for the monitoring of smoke transport. Satellite imagery confirms the southward movement of smoke plumes across the Mediterranean. This highlights the potential air quality effects not only in proximity to the fires but also in the wider Mediterranean area. Urgent measures are required to minimize the adverse impacts, emphasizing the importance of monitoring smoke transport.
CAMS plays a crucial role in tracking wildfires worldwide by providing real-time information on their location, intensity, and estimated emissions. This data, which is freely accessible, proves indispensable for decision-making processes involving citizens, businesses, and stakeholders in various related sectors.