2023 canada wildfires emissions have already doubled previous annual record

GFASV1.2 daily total cumulative estimated carbon emissions for Canada since 1 January (red line shows 2023 up to 1 August, thick black line shows 2003-2022 mean, and grey dashed lines show the other years in the dataset).

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) has been closely monitoring the wildfires that have been burning across Canada since the beginning of May. More recently wildfires have been active at more northern latitudes in the Northwest Territories, including within the Arctic Circle, producing significant smoke emissions. As of the end of July, the total estimated wildfire carbon emissions for the year to date reached double the previous Canadian annual total estimated fire emissions of 2014.

In accordance with CAMS monitoring of the fire emissions, large scale wildfires continue across both western and eastern provinces of Canada, with national total estimated emissions of carbon increasing well above any previous annual total in the Global Fire Assimilation System v1.2 (GFASv1.2) dataset which starts on 1 January 2003. Currently, the total wildfire carbon emissions from Canada are around 290 megatons, while the previous record registered in 2014 of 138 megatons.

GFAS data has also been used to monitor emissions from wildfires in the far east of Russia as well as around the Mediterranean region, where significant wildfire activity in recent weeks has been reported, with relevant episodes in Greece, Algeria and Italy.

CAMS Senior Scientist, Mark Parrington, comments: “We have been monitoring the emissions from wildfires right across Canada for three months since the beginning of May, during which time they have continued to increase almost continuously to a level which is already considerably higher than the previous annual total fire emissions for Canada in our dataset. As fire emissions from boreal regions typically peak at the end of July and early August, the total is still likely to continue rising for some more weeks and we will continue to monitor.”

CAMS provides up-to-date information on the location, intensity, and estimated emissions of wildfires around the world, including the tracking of their smoke transport and impacts on atmospheric composition. CAMS data is freely available to use and can serve as a vital aid in decision-making processes for citizens, businesses, and stakeholders in related sectors alike.