2017 North American wildfire smoke equivalent to volcano eruption

The pollution remained in the stratosphere at measurable levels for several months.

Southern California wildfires satellite view
Southern California wildfires, satellite view, December 5, 2017. NASA

The smoke and pollution created during the very active wildfire season in Canada and the United States last year was equivalent to a moderate volcano eruption according to scientists.

Below is an excerpt from an article at GeoSpace:

The overall impact of the 2017 North American fires on the stratosphere surpassed all other documented wildfire events since the beginning of stratospheric observations in the 1980s and had an effect equivalent to a volcanic eruption, according to the study’s authors.

“This event was so big and its fires were so powerful that not only did they inject material into the stratosphere, they injected enough material that the stratosphere was polluted on a hemispheric scale,” said Sergey Khaykin, an atmospheric scientist at Versailles University (UVSQ) in France, and lead author of the new study in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. “The effect really was comparable to a moderate volcanic eruption.”

arizona wildfire volcano
This wildfire in Arizona in 1988 only LOOKS like a volcano.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

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