(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US found that smoke from wildfires caused chemical reactions in the stratosphere that contributed to the destruction of ozone, which protects the Earth from incoming ultraviolet radiation. This was reported in a press release published on the Phys.org website.
In March 2020, shortly after the Australian wildfires subsided, a team of specialists observed a sharp drop in stratospheric nitrogen dioxide, the first step in a chemical cascade known to deplete the ozone layer. The reduction in nitrogen dioxide is directly related to the amount of smoke emitted from fires.
The researchers note that the phasing out of ozone-depleting gases under a worldwide agreement on their production has led to a recovery of about one percent of ozone over the past 10 years, but wildfires have effectively reversed this improvement.
There is reason to believe that as the Earth’s global temperature rises due to climate change, fires will become more frequent and intense, posing a threat to the ozone layer.
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