Wildfires in Australia warm the stratosphere

(ORDO NEWS) — British climatologists have found that the massive forest and steppe fires in Australia in 2019-2020 led to the strongest heating of the stratosphere in the last 30 years. The findings of scientists published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“Global temperatures rose sharply in January 2020 to peaks not seen since the early 1990s, accompanied by an anomalous warming of the stratosphere.

Our analysis showed that the fires in southeast Australia were responsible for this warming and warming of the stratosphere” , the researchers write.

Large-scale forest fires began on the east coast of Australia in mid-October 2019. The fire covered large areas in the southeast of the continent, as well as a number of areas in the south of the country.

The situation improved only after heavy rains that took place in the first decade of February 2020. The fires have destroyed more than 12 million hectares of forest and killed about 3 billion animals. This event was recognized as an environmental disaster.

A team of climate scientists led by Lilly Damany-Pierce, a researcher at the University of Exeter (UK), has uncovered the link between these wildfires and weather anomalies that hit the world in the first half of 2020.

Scientists made this discovery while calculating the climatic consequences of the “black summer”, as this cataclysm is called in Australia.

Global effects of forest fires

According to climatologists, in December 2020 and January 2021, a lot of drops of sulfur aerosols, microscopic soot particles and other products of forest and steppe fires, which can both cause a cooling of the climate and increase the heating of the upper and lower layers of the air shell of the planet, entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

Guided by this idea, the scientists prepared a detailed computer model that helped them calculate the impact of the Australian fires on the climate of the continent and the whole Earth as a whole.

These calculations took into account how the distribution of aerosols and ash was affected by atmospheric currents, as well as hurricanes, dry storms, and other meteorological phenomena.

Calculations carried out by scientists showed that the smoke from the Australian fires rose to a height of 16 kilometers, which allowed a large number of aerosol particles and soot to penetrate into the stratosphere.

Their total number, according to scientists, was comparable to how much ash and sulfur compounds enter the atmosphere during large volcanic eruptions.

The penetration of ash and aerosols into the stratosphere led to its record-breaking rapid and powerful heating, which has not been observed since the early 1990s.

As a result, the temperature in the stratosphere and in the lower parts of the atmosphere increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius, which was observed for about four months.

This suggests that large-scale forest and steppe fires can greatly affect the weather and climate of the Earth at the global level, climatologists summed up.


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