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Smoke from wildfires in Siberia 'covers an area bigger than the EU'

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Smoke from wildfires in Siberia 'covers an area bigger than the EU'
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Antti Lipponen- Finnish Meteorological Institute
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The smoke cloud from wildfires in Siberia now covers a big area than the European Union, according to a scientist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI).

Antti Lipponen told Euronews the smoke cloud extends to an area of 7 million sq km, while the EU is 4.476 million square kilometres.

Scientists say the smoke has a global warming effect.

"The smoke above the clouds may be particularly important when thinking about the climate," Antti Lipponen, a researcher at FMI, told Euronews. "The smoke absorbs solar radiation that would otherwise be reflected back to space by the clouds but now some part of the radiation does not get reflected because of the smoke.."

Pierre Markuse, an expert in satellite imagery, showed on his Twitter account how the amount of smoke from fires in the Russian Republic of Sakha, bordering the Arctic Ocean, look like.

Anu-Maija Sundström, another researcher from the Finnish Meteorological Institute, proved that the fires’ smoke has reached the north coast of Alaska.

Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) | Earthdata - NASA

Greenpeace said on Monday that the land area affected by forest fires in Siberia continues to grow and extends today to 5.4 million hectares.

Konstantin Fomin, a Greenpeace spokesperson in Russia, confirmed to EFE that since the beginning of the year the fire has affected 14.9 million hectares.

The record of burnt area was reached in 2012, where forest fires ravaged 18.1 million of Russian hectares, a figure that could be surpassed in 2019, said Fomin.

The NGO added that the fire is only being countered in 282,200 hectares since the biggest part of the fires are taking place in remote areas where authorities are not obliged to fight them.