Smoke from fires from the Amazon and Bolivia reaches SP and other states

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Smoke from fires from the Amazon and Bolivia reaches SP and other states

Smoke from fires in the Amazon is already spreading over a considerable part of the continent and Brazil, including over São Paulo and other states further south of the country.

The cloud of smoke can be seen in satellite images provided by Inpe (National Institute for Space Research) — millions of km² are affected.

The extent of the gray cloud can also be seen by the European atmospheric monitoring service Copernicus.

In addition to fires —associated with high levels of deforestation— in the Amazon, areas of burning in Bolivia also contribute to the situation.

The clouds of smoke bring the memory of August 19, 2019, when the day in São Paulo became dark in the middle of the afternoon, thanks to intense fires in the Amazon and also large fires in Paraguay.

In six days of September, the Amazon has more than 16,000 fires — practically the same amount recorded in the entire month of September 2021. Three of these days recorded, consecutively, more than 3,000 hotspots. A sequence of such high values, day after day, in September, has not happened at least since 2007.

Current satellite images are also reminiscent of what was seen in 2019. But these were not the only times something like this has occurred and this is a relatively common phenomenon.

In an article published in 2019, after the sky in São Paulo turned dark, Alberto Setzer, a researcher at Inpe, pointed out that, in dry years, it is common for fires to throw their clouds of smoke across millions of km² in the South American continent. Such clouds are only broken by the rains.

But then why did the sky darken like that on that occasion? In his article, Setzer states that, in 2019, the concentration of smoke, even with the “help” of the Paraguayan fire, was not enough to darken the entire city of São Paulo. Such darkening may, then, have been caused by low and medium clouds that are very concentrated and thick.

In addition, Setzer cites the sooty rain recorded in São Paulo at that time. “The phenomenon of dark rain due to contamination of the atmosphere by smoke from fires has also been recorded in previous situations in the country, such as in August 2010”, writes the researcher.

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