Scientists Discover Link Between Wildfires and Arctic Ice Melt

New research predicts wildfires will spew more soot into the air in many regions by the end of the century. That soot could darken Arctic ice and accelerate melting. Soot produced by burning fossil fuels and plants, also called black carbon, can cause respiratory diseases and greenhouse warming. It can also accelerate the melting of ice. New simulations show rising temperatures and changing weather patterns will shift where and how fiercely wildfires burn and spew soot. However, atmospheric scientist Shane Murphy of the University of Wyoming in Laramie says many factors that could influence future wildfires remain uncertain. Murphy told Science News, “We shouldn’t take the absolute numbers to mean too much, just to inform us that there’s the potential for severe consequences.”

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