While fires in Siberia have created a cloud of smoke larger than the European Union, on the other side of the world, forest blazes in the Amazon are causing a phenomenon of almost the same magnitude.
Santiago Gassó, a researcher at NASA’s Goddard center, warned on his Twitter account on Tuesday that the surface of Latin America covered by the smoke layer was about 3.2 million square kilometers.
That compares to the area of smoke caused by fires in Siberia (7 million square kilometers) and the area of the EU (4,476 million square kilometers).
Scientists point out that these extensive layers of smoke affect the local weather.
Gassó explained that smoke “not only prevents solar energy from reaching the earth”, but also inhibits the formation of clouds.
A study published in Science in 2004 demonstrated the effect between urban air pollution and smoke from fires in reducing cloud formation, which results in warming of the atmosphere and cooling of the surface.
“Smoke over clouds can be particularly important when you think about the weather,” Finnish Meteorological Institute researcher Antti Lipponen explained to Euronews. “The smoke absorbs solar radiation that would otherwise be reflected back into space by clouds, but now some of the radiation is not reflected due to smoke.”
The Brazilian state of Amazonas declared a state of emergency last week due to the increasing number of fires in the region.
Fires in the Rondonia nature reserve, bordering the Amazon, have been active for more than 15 days.
“The fire has exceeded the limits of the unit and reaches the neighboring pastures, endangering the survival of the animals and compromising the health of the farmers,” says Brazil news portal EBC.
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