Australia, bushfires linked to largest stratospheric warming in three decades

    Australia, bushfires linked to largest stratospheric warming in three decades

    According to a study published in Scientific ReportsThe Forest fires Between 2019 and 2020, southeastern Australia released smoke particles into Earth’s upper atmosphere that contributed to the highest temperature recorded in the lower stratosphere since the early 1990s.

    Australian bushfires triggered the release of Millions of tons of smoke mist in the Earth’s atmosphere. Unusually, a large amount of smoke has reached high altitudes such as the lower stratosphere starting at altitudes of about 15 kilometers above Australia. Abnormally high temperatures (the highest since 1992-1993) were also observed in the lower stratosphere for several months in this period.

    Lily Damani – Pierce Our colleagues investigated whether smoke from Australian bushfires raised stratospheric temperatures. The authors used data from the CALIPSO and Suomi National Polar-Orbating Partnership satellites to monitor aerosol levels in the southern hemisphere between December 2019 and 2020. For comparison, they also studied aerosol levels recorded by the same satellites. Between June 2012 and December 2018. The authors reported an initial smoke plume that reached a height of 16 km on December 31, 2019 and a similar plume was detected on January 12, 2020. The smoke eventually reached heights of between 25 and 35 km and was detected throughout 2020. .

    The authors applied these results to UK Earth System Model Version 1 (UKESM1) in order to estimate the effect of these plumes on lower stratospheric temperatures. The authors modeled the effects of aerosols, changes in the ozone layer or a combination of both on stratospheric temperatures and compared them to current climate control simulations. In simulating smoke and ozone aerosols, the authors model significantly increased temperatures compared to the current climate in the lower stratosphere from January to June 2020. There was a typical temperature rise of about 0.65 °C from November 2019 to March 2020, which is similar to the temperature peak observed of 0.7 °C during this period. This indicates that the increase in stratospheric temperatures in the model was due to aerosol smoke from wildfires, according to the authors. They suggest that the typical temperature peak is greater than1991 eruption of Pinatubo volcano That sprayed sulfate smoke into the stratosphere.

    credit: NOAA

    The authors conclude that because climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of future fires, this may in turn increase the potential for further stratospheric warming and depletion of the ozone layer from smoke mist.

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