North Pole Tainted by Siberian Smoke in Grim First



Siberia is on fire and the smoke has reached the Arctic. The region is known for its harsh, cold winters and short, chilly summers, but a recent heat wave and drought have led to massive wildfires, Gizmodo reports. At present, 8.4 million acres are burning in the Sakha region, also known as Yakutia, the AFP reports. Images shared by NASA and the European Space Agency show smoke covering much of Russia. That smoke has made it to the North Pole for the first time in history, the Moscow Times reports, and it’s expected to drift into Canada later in the week.

“This week, wildfire smoke has traveled more than 3,000 km (1,864 mi) from Yakutia to reach the North Pole, a feat that appears to be a first in recorded history,” NASA’s MODIS monitoring tool said over the weekend. Climate change has been blamed for the Siberian fires, and the amount of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere by this year’s fires is outpacing the record amount of last year, notes Gizmodo. Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly acknowledged the link between climate change and the fires, and he ordered more money be made available for emergency relief, reports the Independent. The smoke has spread down to China, too. (Climate change is only going to get worse, a landmark UN report predicted Monday.)