Wildfires in the Arctic are normal. But Fairbanks, Alaska-based climate researcher Nancy Fresco says this year’s fires – stretching across Siberia, Greenland and Alaska – reflect worrying trends.

Fresco describes how frequent and intense wildfires, driven by warmer temperatures, are not only disrupting life for people in those regions, but also changing Arctic ecosystems and the cycles of regrowth scientists have seen in the past. These climate-driven shifts matter “not just for those of us who live within the fires’ pall of smoke, but for the world,” she writes.

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Smoke from wildfires in Siberia drifts east toward Canada and the U.S. on July 30, 2019. NASA

Huge wildfires in the Arctic and far North send a planetary warning

Nancy Fresco, University of Alaska Fairbanks

A researcher based in Fairbanks, Alaska, links 2019's record-breaking wildfires in far northern regions of the world to climate change, and describes what it's like as zones near her city burn.

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  • A brief astronomical history of Saturn’s amazing rings

    Vahe Peroomian, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

    Although the rings of Saturn may look like a permanent fixture of the planet, they are ever-changing. New analyses of the rings reveal how and when they were made, from what and whether they'll last.

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