Now atmospheric chemists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have discovered that the smoke from these fires caused chemical reactions in the stratosphere that contributed to the destruction of ozone, which protects Earth from ultraviolet radiation. The team’s study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Scienceis the first to establish a chemical link between smoke from wildfires and the destruction of the ozone layer.
In March 2020, shortly after the fires subsided, the team observed a sharp drop in nitrogen dioxide in the stratosphere, the first step in a chemical cascade known to lead to ozone depletion. The researchers found that this drop in nitrogen dioxide is directly related to the amount of smoke from fires in the stratosphere.
The phasing out of ozone-depleting gases saw a worldwide agreement to halt their production recover about 1% of ozone from past ozone depletion over the past 10 years – meaning fire forestry has taken those hard times. Diplomatic benefits revoked. less time. If wildfires intensify and occur more frequently in the future, as has been predicted by climate change, the projected recovery of ozone could be delayed by years.
“The Australian wildfires look like the biggest event yet, but as the world continues to warm, there is every reason to think that these fires will become more frequent and more intense,” he said, in a statementThe lead author of the research is Susan Solomon, professor of environmental studies at MIT. “It’s like a hole in the Antarctic ozone layer is a wake-up call, in the sense of showing how bad things can really be,” she said.
Known to generate massive forest fires pyrocumulonimbus – Dangerously high clouds of smoke that can reach the stratosphere, the layer of the atmosphere that is about 15 to 50 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. Smoke from Australian bushfires reached the stratosphere, reaching 35 kilometers.