Implications of Russia-Ukraine war on temperature and air quality

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is having a climate impact

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Implications of Russia-Ukraine war on temperature and air quality
© Spencer Platt / Staff Getty Images

Anthropic activity is the most important cause that has led to the climate crisis in recent years, resulting in global warming and partial or total destruction of entire ecosystems.

Wars also contribute to worsening the climate crisis and the Russian invasion of Ukraine is certainly one of these examples.

Russia-Ukraine war has an impact on air quality and temperature

The study: Implications of Russia-Ukraine war on land surface temperature and air quality: long-term and short-term analysis, published on the Environmental science and pollution research international, dealt with this interesting topic and came up with equally interesting answers.

Ukrainian waar
Ukrainian waar© Spencer Platt / Staff Getty Images

The researchers explain: "The world is currently witnessing the military operations of Russia invading Ukraine, leading to missile bombing and shelling on various parts. Although the economic ill effects are more conspicuous and much talked about, the environmental impacts are grimmer and more devastating but ironically are less in the news.

Hence, in this work, we focused on the environmental impact of the Russia-Ukraine war by quantifying the long-term (2001 to 2023) and short-term temperature changes using land surface temperature and air temperature as proxies and monitoring changes in air quality, mainly methane, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, between 2021 and 2022.

We used NASA MODIS FIRMS fire points from 24th February 2022 to 08th September 2023 to prepare the heat map for identifying the regions heavily devastated by bombing Thus, parts of Kiev, Lviv, Luhansk, Odesa, Donetsk, Kherson, etc., in Ukraine were chosen for assessing the LST, AT variations during the peak season of war along with analysis of long-term and short-term changes. We used MODIS Terra LST and Emissivity, ERA 5 AT, CH4, CO2 from AIRS and CO from Sentinel 5P.

The results of the LST showed an average increase of around 2.32 °C (2022-2023), 3.44 °C (2021 and 2022) in parts of Ukraine and an increase of about 2 °C from COVID time, whilst a decrease of about 1 °C during COVID. This increase in LST will cause enhanced warming, thus changing the regional climate in a shorter time frame

. A consistent upward trend in CH4, CO and CO2 is seen from 2019 to 2023. These heat waves and pollution will grip Ukraine and cause menace due to the cumulative effect of heat waves, changing climate and the aftermath of war. This would be catastrophic as it might lead to a widespread impact on human health, agricultural yield and infrastructure, to name a few."

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