Smoke from Canada Observed in Europe

Jul 12, 2013
Fire intensity in North America on 9 July 2013. Yellow dots represent particularly strong blazes that produce very large amounts of smoke. Source: Forschungszentrum Juelich

This summer, Canada is experiencing unusually extensive wildfires. This week alone, 341 new forest fires have consumed a total area of 616,000 hectares. The smoke clouds produced by the fires in Canada have now reached Europe. In the EU research project Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate (MACC-II), in which researchers from Forschungszentrum Jülich are playing a leading role, an integrated system for data analysis and modelling is used to provide daily forecasts of the global atmospheric concentration of pollutants. Smoke and trace gas emissions can be determined based on satellite data of the Canadian wildfires. The MACC-II model system then calculates how these pollutants are transported and chemically transformed.

An animation produced from data of the global MACC-II forecasting system shows how strong winds over the North Atlantic transport the smoke from Canada to the northwest of Europe within three days. The smoke is usually located at an altitude of two to four kilometres. During a couple of days this smoke was visible with the naked eye from several locations in Scandinavia. The atmospheric conditions over Europe, which were responsible for the beautiful summer weather in the past few days, transport the smoke and other trace substances in a southerly direction towards Italy.

The forecasts are verified through atmospheric measurements from as part of the European In-Service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) coordinated by Forschungszentrum Jülich. During their landing approach to Frankfurt and Paris on 6 July, aircraft flying for IAGOS measured significantly increased concentrations of carbon monoxide at altitudes between two and four kilometres. These values match the forecasts from the MACC system. This episode therefore convincingly demonstrates how measurements and model calculations complement each other in near real time and help us to understand processes in the atmosphere.

The MACC-II project is coordinated by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in Reading, UK. It includes 31 partners from 13 EU countries.

Explore further: Airlines help researchers understand global climate change

Provided by Forschungszentrum Juelich

5 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Quebec fires continue raging

Jul 10, 2013

Fires around James Bay continue raging in Canada due to the driest summer the region has seen in 40 years as seen in this Aqua satellite photo from July 09, 2013. These fires have been raging for several ...

Climate change and wildfire: Synthesis of recent findings

May 21, 2013

Concerns continue to grow about the effects of climate change on fire. Wildfires are expected to increase 50 percent across the United States under a changing climate, over 100 percent in areas of the West by 2050 as projected ...

Recommended for you

Melting during cooling period

16 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A University of Maine research team says stratification of the North Atlantic Ocean contributed to summer warming and glacial melting in Scotland during the period recognized for abrupt cooling ...

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

19 hours ago

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Melting during cooling period

(Phys.org) —A University of Maine research team says stratification of the North Atlantic Ocean contributed to summer warming and glacial melting in Scotland during the period recognized for abrupt cooling ...