The Amazon rainforest is burning record numbers of fires this year, and now smoke from the expansive flames has been captured on both NASA and NOAA satellites from space. According to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) satellite data showed an 83 percent increase compared to the same period in 2018. The space agency reports its satellite data has detected more than 72,000 fires since January 2019. Follow the express.co.uk live blog on the Amazon Rainforest fires here.
The heavy smoke caused a daytime blackout more than 1,700 miles away in Brazil’s largest city São Paulo on Monday.
Josélia Pegorim, Climatempo meteorologist, told Globo: “The smoke did not come from fires from the state of São Paulo, but from very dense and wide fires that have been going on for several days in Rondônia and Bolivia.
“The cold front changed the direction of the winds and transported this smoke to São Paulo.”
The smoke resulting from some of these wildfires was also captured in satellite images released by NASA.
How did the Amazon rainforest fires start?
Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil, but this year has been worse than normal, according to INPE.
In addition, fires are deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching.
Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in every Amazon country, accounting for 80 percent of current deforestation rates.
Amazon Brazil is home to approximately 200 million head of cattle, and is the largest exporter in the world, supplying about one-quarter of the global market.
The space agency said it had detected more than 72,000 fires between January and August and more than 9,500 forest fires since Thursday, mostly in the Amazon region.
In comparison, there were fewer than 40,000 for the same period in 2018.
Some conservationist have blamed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for the forest fires, saying he has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land.
Mr Bolsonaro said he disagrees with the latest data presented, saying it was the “season of the queimada”, when farmers use fire to clear land.
He said: “I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame…
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