While climate change alarmists spread fear over wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, data from NASA shows there is no reason for concern — or there should have been concern in past years.
From media outlets to politicians, the wildfires have sparked a wave of misinformation and hysteria. The wildfires are so frightening because the Amazon produces 20 percent of the world's oxygen, they claim. Others alleged the fires could speed up climate change.
Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen - is… https://t.co/p9Wg7H6grD— Emmanuel Macron (@Emmanuel Macron)1566501307.0
The Amazon forest provides 20 percent of the world’s oxygen and there have been 70,000 wildfires this year alone.… https://t.co/198qBGMb3V— Ro Khanna (@Ro Khanna)1566605340.0
The Amazon is often referred to as "the lungs of the planet." It's home to 10% of the world's species and creates 20% of our oxygen.
There have been more than 74,000 fires in the Amazon since January, a massive increase over last year. https://t.co/rYmRqBKUMI pic.twitter.com/zGDtr2OWKg
— ABC News (@ABC) August 22, 2019
However, the panic appears to be completely overblown.
According to NASA, fires are common in the Amazon due to the arrival of a dry season in July. Fire activity typically peaks in September before ending in November.
And even though fires are common, NASA analysis shows that current fire activity is at or below average.
As of August 16, 2019, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison to the past 15 years. (The Amazon spreads across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and parts of other countries.)
Though activity appears to be above average in the states of Amazonas and Rondônia, it has so far appeared below average in Mato Grosso and Pará, according to estimates from the Global Fire Emissions Database, a research project that compiles and analyzes NASA data.
Still, although large wildfires are concerning, the claim that the Amazon is responsible for producing 20 percent of the world's usable oxygen is simply not true, despite being commonly cited to intensify hysteria.
From Dr. Jonathan Foley, a global environmental scientist:
Also, the forests are being replaced by pastures and croplands, which also do photosynthesis and produce similar amounts of oxygen.— Dr. Jonathan Foley (@Dr. Jonathan Foley)1566528741.0
Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, explained:
The 20% figure IS too high. True number closer to 6% as per Jon Foley (@GlobalEcoGuy) and even this is misleading b… https://t.co/lNDqMlK5W0— Michael E. Mann (@Michael E. Mann)1566568694.0