NASA Studies How Arctic Fires Change the World

NASA Studies How Arctic Fires Change the World

[Music] Narrator: On July 7th, 2019 the skies around Anchorage Alaska were thick with smoke. Across the Cook Inlet, the Swan Lake Fire had spread over nearly 79,000 acres and was still growing. This was just one of over 400 fires that burned in Alaska so far in 2019. In the Arctic, fires can help rejuvenate ecosystems and make way for new growth. However, Arctic and boreal regions are warming at a faster rate than anywhere else on Earth, and hotter and drier summers are leading to accelerated fire cycles and more intense burns. Elizabeth Hoy: Fires in boreal forests are different than in other areas of the world, such as those in the western United States. One of the main differences is they have these really thick organic soils layers and these soil layers burn. And so you’re not just getting fires in the trees or in the canopy, you’re getting fires below the tree itself, like in that soil layer and that is really when you get a lot of these carbon emissions. Narrator: Wildfires release large amounts of particulate matter which is transported across and beyond the region following wind patterns. This means that a fire burning in the Arctic can impact people living thousands of miles away. Elizabeth Hoy: Because there are these thick stores of organic material in the soil, when they burn, they are releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, which is then causing more warming. And that warming isn’t just going to happen in the Arctic, we’re going to see climate change happen throughout all of the world. Narrator: NASA is studying how a changing climate is contributing to more frequent and powerful Arctic fires, and what that means for ecosystems and our health. Elizabeth Hoy: ABoVE is the Arctic – Boreal Vulnerability Experiment. And it is a large-scale field campaign that NASA has designed to study many aspects of the ecosystem of the Arctic and boreal regions in Alaska and western Canada. In addition to field observations, NASA satellites give researchers the ability to track large-scale changes to the Arctic over a period of time. And it’s not uncommon for these Earth-observing satellites to be the first to detect wildfire, especially in the remote Arctic regions. Elizabeth Hoy: NASA does a really good job of putting all these different pieces together. That’s the benefit of having a large agency like NASA do this type of study. Narrator: On the ground and in the air, NASA is working to better understand the consequences of Arctic fires in one of the most rapidly changing regions on Earth.


  1. Love your content, your videos about space has inspired me to become an astronomer. I just want to say thank you and keep making videos like this.

  2. These artic fires just release huge about of carbon in the atmosphere ..add to that is the destruction of permafrost and we are truly on our way to becoming the next Venus! Hotter than hell! Good going humans .
    .Save us NASA!😨😱

  3. Arctic wildfires release much more carbon than wildfires of temperate and tropical regions because plant life decays much slower up there. Much of the plant life is growing on a very thick layer of duff. If this carbon being released into the soil can be recaptured into the soil elsewhere, it can mightily rejuvenate depleted, carbon poor farmland. Most of our crops grown prefer carbon-rich loam. The best way to recapture carbon is through plant life and death cycles. Especially though planting trees…

  4. Climate Change should be renamed to Climate Catastrophe. People need to understand that we are ruining our planet, destroying the future of all beings on this blue marble.

  5. The video talks about wildfires in the arctic and shows fires burning in forests. There are no forests in the arctic. Any trees there are dwarfs growing no more than a few feet above the permafrost. Early in the video we are told of a fire near Anchorage Alaska. Anchorage is 1540 miles below the arctic circle.

  6. I can only imagine how frustrating it is to design these satellites; study the results; and publish them only to have a large part of the population be dismissive. As an outsider looking at the data I get a foreboding sense; how does the scientific community decouple the emotional aspect of what they see and manage to stay neutral? Are you all Vulcans? 🙂

  7. Study or just another lee way for propaganda? Since it so remote problem no else can verify if it exist. What not the inuits do the study? Since there the ones really be affected by and observe everything at realtime.

    So do the science first people and use proper methods how to go about it with so few loopholes… trying to sound to be expert scientist only proves the people doing the research are not scientist at all but actors. Just listen carefully…. even their equipment are so medieval in getting air samples lol

    Anyway, saying whats the impact of the fire? Means they already know and have extensive data established as control. It seems theyre saying they already know every inch of the land and not even a scratches on their faces for doing the impossible to assess the ecosystem in the arctic lol

    For sure they wont look like that if they actually done the job… theeyre just actors acting as if theyre elite scientist with elite equipment for show nothing more

  8. That's cool but NASA has trouble seeing the keys in their hand type of hysterical frantic walking about crying where is the global warming keys …i have looked everywhere…as you look at the keys in their hands …..your reach is a consumption …the earth needs a break from your constant needing an engine you are overweight and running in all reds on the dashboard …so your math has trouble with that and that's it …

  9. A aventura no Artico começou com os submarinos de propulsão nuclear Nautilus 1958 e sulcaram a água por baixo do gelo ….Agora o solo perpetuamente gelado está a derreter ….de inútil pátio traseiro veio a verificar-se que a sua importância é vital para o clima ?? Os processos atmosféricos ditam o clima é a intensidade de radiação solar recebida, senão houver um equilíbrio é lógico que tudo se começa a desequilibrar!!

  10. It’s to bad climate change became so grossly politicized . It’s more of a political / economic football to redistribute wealth with the UN sitting on a pile of cash pontificating , mustache twirling while it consolidates power .

  11. I remember this. In July I was in Port Alsworth on Lake Clark staying with our friends,the Alsworths we were flying in a plane and it was super smokey and we couldent even see the end of the lake…

  12. Ad -dukhan will come in the near future…so beware..prepare yourself for the last battle..this have been said in Quran long time ago…everything is prove true

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *