The University of Colorado and NOAA have conducted a study on the impact of the North American wildfire season on global warming. Apparently, the smoke transported to the Arctic may cool the surface for several weeks or months. You can read the full report here.
While it makes sense to me that smoke in the atmosphere would somewhat block the rays of the sun to cool the surface below, I find it hard to reconcile this study with others that are looking at the carbon produced by fires as an impact to global warming. I’m wondering if the cooling affect of smoke offsets the carbon dioxide that is sent into the atmosphere.
I found other research that leads to greater ambiguity for me about this issue. There are larger fires primarily due to fire suppression, but if fires are allowed to burn the forest loses its ability to contain carbon for some time.
There are obviously many conflicting studies about the carbon cycle of forests, their benefit when standing and when they burn or are cleared. I’m sure it will take some time to get a handle on the complete picture.