PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Flames from blazing oil wells in Kuwait. The oil wells of Kuwait were destroyed by retreating Iraqi troops during the Gulf War of 1991. In the Al Burgan field seen here, over 360 oil wells were set ablaze. It is estimated that a total of 5 to 6 million barrels of oil are lost every day (1 barrel = 159 litres). A team of firefighters from several companies have attempted to put the fires out, and slow progress has been made. In addition to the massive oil spills, the smoke from the fires has caused immense damage to the local environment. The smoke has also contributed to local climate changes, but is not expected to affect global climate systems.
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