Greece endures a “disaster of unprecedented proportions" •

Greece endures a “disaster of unprecedented proportions"

Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features a satellite view of wildfires and smoke in Greece. The photo was captured on August 8 by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on Suomi NPP.

For the first two weeks of August 2021, Greece has endured a series of devastating wildfires. A blaze on the island of Evia has left behind catastrophic damage in heavily forested areas in the northern part of the island. 

Pine forests, vineyards, and olive groves – which support the livelihoods of thousands of people – have been lost in northern Evia. Many other residents depend on tourism. 

What remains of the island was largely saved by volunteers, as the government response was focused on other fires throughout the country. 

According to the Associated Press, about 123,000 acres have burned on Evia, as well as hundreds of homes and businesses.

The fires erupted just after Greece experienced one of its most severe heatwaves in decades. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told news agencies that the fire outbreak has been a “disaster of unprecedented proportions.”

In the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists from NASA and other agencies warn that the planet is warming even faster than expected as a result of human activities. The experts noted that the impacts of global warming are already widespread and severe. 

“The frequency and intensity of hot extremes have increased in recent decades and are projected to keep increasing regardless of the greenhouse gas emissions scenario,” the report stated.  

“Despite strong internal variability, observed trends in European mean and extreme temperatures cannot be explained without accounting for anthropogenic factors.

The scientists said that without deep reductions in carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gas emissions, the global warming targets established by the Paris Agreement will be exceeded in the next few decades.

Image Credit: ESA 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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