Wildfires: a significant driver of climate change

The devastating rise in Alaska’s wildfires is making global warming even worse than scientists expected, US government researchers said on Wednesday.

The sharp spike in Alaska’s wildfires, where more than 5 million acres burned last year, are destroying a main buffer against climate change: the carbon-rich boreal forests, tundra and permafrost that have served as an enormous carbon sink.

Northern wildfires must now be recognised as a significant driver of climate change – and not just a side-effect, according to the report from the US Geological Survey.

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