Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Data: Mark Parrington/Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

Wildfires across parts of the U.S. and Canada are burning unusually intensely and emitting larger amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than typical during midsummer, scientists say. Massive blazes in Siberia are also adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, while contributing to local air pollution.

Why it matters: The fires are thriving in areas experiencing extreme heat and drought conditions. They are both a consequence of climate change and an accelerant of global warming.

Driving the news: About 300 wildfires are burning in British Columbia alone, and about 80 large fires are burning in the West. In Siberia, which has been a planetary hot spot since the start of the year, intense and widespread wildfires have broken out, particularly in the Sakha Republic.

  • At times, these blazes have reduced visibility in populated areas, such as Yakutsk, to near zero.
  • Satellite observations and computer models developed by scientists at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service show that the fires in North America as well as in Siberia have been unusually severe this summer.
  • The blazes in North America, in particular, have also been emitting higher amounts of greenhouse gases compared to what is typically seen at this point in an average wildfire season.

Context: In addition to their intensity and expansiveness, these fires have something in common — they're thriving in environments that have seen persistent weather extremes that have clear ties to global warming.

  • In the West, it's drought and extreme heat, including a total of at least four noteworthy heat waves so far this summer — with more likely on the way.
  • In Siberia, the above-average temperatures have been unusually persistent, lasting from winter straight through the summer.
  • "I think this is a good example of how these extreme weather events can sit over a region for longer than historically normal, and this is not well captured by our models," Merritt Turetsky, who studies Arctic ecosystems at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told Axios.

What they're saying: Mark Parrington, who studies wildfires for the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, a European agency, told Axios that in some places, the total estimated emissions from wildfires between June 1 and July 20 "are already comparable or greater than the summertime totals in previous years."

  • "In the more than 10 years that I've been monitoring wildfires in the boreal forests, I can't recall a period where there was such widespread wildfire activity in both North America and Russia simultaneously," he said.

The intrigue: There are increasingly urgent scientific questions about how the wildfires and unusual warmth in Siberia are affecting permafrost, which is the layer of permanently frozen soil that rings the Arctic.

  • If the blazes are accelerating permafrost thaw, then frozen organic matter locked away for centuries or longer would begin to decompose, releasing greenhouse gases and worsening global warming.
  • So far, the jury is still out on wildfires and melting permafrost in Siberia, though there are some warning signs, according to Turetsky. "What I have my eye on is how permafrost will respond in the next 5–10 years in response to this burning," she said.
  • "Time will tell if we are watching the beginning of a true regime shift for Arctic fires," she said.

The big picture: Both the severe wildfire season so far in the Western U.S. and Siberia are not a fluke, as each has seen a string of extreme fire years.

  • Jessica McCarty of Miami University in Ohio, who tracks Arctic fires using satellites, said the trends in the Sakha region are to burn more area, burn longer during the year, and for flames to encroach on areas they previously did not enter.

What's next: The peak of the North American wildfire season is still to come, and in recent years, the Siberian fire season has extended into September and even early October.

  • McCarty told Axios that as widespread as Siberian fires have been this year, they're not on a record pace for emissions, at least not yet. If fires maintain the same pace through September and October, she said, "We are looking at emissions less than 2020 but still equivalent to total CO2 emissions for many individual countries."
  • “Fire is not new to people living in Siberia, but fires every summer with increasing fire risk stretching from the steppes in the south to the Arctic Ocean in the north is new.”

Go deeper: Welcome to our hellscape summer

Go deeper

India rejects net zero carbon emissions target ahead of COP26

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend COP26 in Glasgow after taking part in the Group of 20 summit in Rome this weekend. Photo: Mohd. Muqeed/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India's top environmental official on Wednesday dismissed calls to set forth a net zero carbon emissions target, arguing such goals were not the solution to the climate crisis, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the U.S. and China.

11 mins ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspend the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.