Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Transcontinental wildfire emissions monitored from space

09.05.2007
Using data from the SCIAMACHY instrument aboard ESA’s environmental satellite Envisat, scientists have determined that the carbon monoxide hovering over Australia during the wildfire season largely originated from South American wildfires some 13 000 kilometres away.

Using SCIAMACHY, Annemieke Gloudemans from SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research and her colleagues at Utrecht University, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) witnessed large quantities of released carbon monoxide (CO) above the southern continents. They also saw increased concentrations of carbon monoxide above Central Australia, a desert region that is not prone to forest fires.

"Initially we assumed that the wildfires in North Australia were responsible for this. Yet when we took a closer look at the transport of carbon monoxide, we had to conclude that the majority originated from fires in South America. Even one-third of the carbon monoxide enhancements above the fires in North Australia originated from South America," Gloudemans said.

Knowledge about the global distribution of carbon monoxide is important because it affects air quality and climate.

SCIAMACHY is the first satellite instrument that can measure the global distribution of carbon monoxide with nearly equal sensitivity from the uppermost layer of the atmosphere down to the Earth surface where the carbon monoxide sources are located.

"SCIAMACHY allows us to map the sources of carbon monoxide and see where they are blown to," Gloudemans added. "We did this for all of the continents in the southern hemisphere – South America, Australia and Southern Africa – for the years 2003 and 2004 and found surprising results.

"It has been known for many years now that carbon monoxide from forest fires can be transported over long distances, but one would expect that the plume would rapidly become more diffuse the longer it travels. So, it was very surprising to find that even over Australian biomass-burning areas still up to 30% of the enhanced carbon monoxide levels from forest fires originate in South America."

Forest fires in South America produced much more carbon monoxide in 2004 than in 2003, Gloudemans explained. "These levels correlated to the amounts found over Australia for the same periods, confirming that the carbon monoxide levels over Australia are severely influenced by South American forest fires."

Plumes of carbon monoxide signal strong biomass burning. Apart from the carbon monoxide detected by SCIAMACHY, numerous other compounds are emitted that have severe consequences for air quality and climate.

Depending on the aridity, much of Australia is prone to fires between October and March, and the direct consequences for humans and the environment are disastrous. The fire season in South America, often concentrated in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela, lasts from July to December roughly and contributes up to 50% of the enhanced carbon monoxide levels in the atmosphere over Australia.

Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMH7ZU681F_environment_0.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Minimized water consumption in CSP plants - EU project MinWaterCSP is making good progress
05.12.2017 | Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum

nachricht Jena Experiment: Loss of species destroys ecosystems
28.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New research identifies how 3-D printed metals can be both strong and ductile

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

11.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

What makes corals sick?

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>