A disturbing glimpse of Australia's wildfires as seen from space

Illustration for article titled A disturbing glimpse of Australias wildfires as seen from space

International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield has snapped a series of images that capture the scale and devastation of wildfires that are currently blazing through parts of Australia. The bushfires, which have been burning since Friday, are being fueled by record high temperatures. And in fact, Australian meteorologists have added an extra color to its heat map to account for unprecedented temperatures reaching upwards of 129 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celcius).

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The fires, which are sweeping through Tasmania and New South Wales, are consuming thousands of acres of forests and farms, while destroying a number of homes. Incredibly, there have been no reports of deaths, though 100 people remain unaccounted for in Tasmania.

Illustration for article titled A disturbing glimpse of Australias wildfires as seen from space
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Illustration for article titled A disturbing glimpse of Australias wildfires as seen from space
Illustration for article titled A disturbing glimpse of Australias wildfires as seen from space

Space images Chris Hadfield/NASA, heat mat via Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

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DISCUSSION

"Environment Canada estimates that for every acre of primarily coniferous forest burned, approximately 4.81 metric tons of carbon is released into the atmosphere—between 80 percent and 90 percent in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2), with the rest as carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH4)."

I have often wondered have much carbon natural wild fires used to dump into the atmosphere. The North American prairies used to naturally burn quite often and many of our pine forests used to burn every 5-20 years.