Hi I’m Dan Riskin. Have you ever heard of a zombie fire? It’s, a real thing. It’s a fire that just won’t die. They happen in the arctic, where what’s burning? Is peat and the thing about peat? Is it smolders really well, even when a blanket of snow falls on top of it and it sits under the snow all winter that fire can keep smoldering so that the next spring it just burst back and picks up where it left off. There’s a new paper out in nature, geoscience warning that this is a phenomenon that needs international attention right now.
The arctic has reached something of a tipping point. Looking at data across several years, researchers have found two things: one, these zombie fires are happening earlier and they are bigger than ever before, but number two, they’re, also moving farther north into places that didn’t typically burn before, and The reason that’s, a big deal is because there’s permafrost up there, there’s, a ton of carbon that’s stored underground many tons of carbon.
In fact, underground and climate models have anticipated that with climate change, that carbon is going to get released into the atmosphere, but with these fires all of that carbon gets released in a very short period of time, so that makes climate change much worse than anticipated.
Researchers point out that these are problems that are being solved by local communities right now, but they really deserve an international effort.