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Data: Copernicus/CAMS via Mark Parrington; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The widespread wildfires that stretched across the Northern Hemisphere this summer set records for their carbon dioxide emissions, particularly in Siberia, according to data released Tuesday.

Why it matters: The severe fire season in Siberia is tied in part to unusually warm conditions with low soil moisture, which studies have linked to human-caused climate change.

How it works: The wildfire season across the boreal forests of the Far North typically stretches from May to October.

  • During the June through August period, wildfires in the Sakha region of northeastern Siberia emitted enough carbon dioxide to rival the annual emissions from Germany in 2019, according to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and data from The Rhodium Group.
  • August set a monthly record for wildfire emissions coming from the Northern Hemisphere, and Siberian emissions were more than twice the total from the June through August timeframe last year, CAMS' satellite data shows.

Threat level: As the climate warms due to human emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel burning, extreme wildfire years are expected to become more common and burn in ecosystems where they were previously uncommon.

  • If fires burn intensely in regions with permanently frozen soil known as permafrost, it could free up currently frozen organic matter locked away for centuries or longer, emitting carbon dioxide and methane.

What we're watching: Wildfire season is not over yet in the western U.S. Southern California, for example, tends to see its worst wildfire weather days in October into November.

  • This summer's California wildfires, dominated by the nearly 1 million-acre Dixie Fire, already sent twice the amount of CO2 into the air compared to 2020, also a severe wildfire season.

Go deeper

California governor declares drought emergency for entire state

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters in Los Angeles in September. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom extended a drought emergency declaration to cover the entire state on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures," per a statement from the governor's office. This past August was the driest and hottest one on record, "and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record," the statement added.

3 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.

GOP congressman forfeits committee seats after indictment

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on Wednesday stepped down from his committee assignments after being indicted for lying to federal investigators amid a probe into illegal campaign donations.

What they're saying: In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Fortenberry said he is "grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends and colleagues as we work against the injustice confronting me."