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HomeOpinionSmoke from large forest fires destroys ozone layer in stratosphere, scientists say

Smoke from large forest fires destroys ozone layer in stratosphere, scientists say


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Smoke from large forest fires destroys the ozone layer in the atmosphere, according to a new Canadian scientific study. Scientists warn that if large fires become more frequent in the future due to climate change, which many predict, then the damage to ozone will be more serious and thus more harmful ultraviolet radiation will reach the Earth’s surface, with whatever consequences it may have. this to have.

Atmospheric chemists at the University of Waterloo, led by Peter Bernath, a professor in the Department of Chemistry who published the journal Science, analyzed data from the ACE (Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment) Satellite Effects of fire smoke particles on the ozone layer in the stratosphere (part of the atmosphere), which absorbs the UV rays of the Sun.

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Large wildfires in Australia in 2019 and 2020, which burned more than 70,000 square kilometers of land and 3,000 homes, were found to have destroyed, for months, a significant portion of atmospheric ozone in the Southern Hemisphere, reducing levels by at least 13%. . According to Bernath, “Australian fires have released acidic smoke particles into the stratosphere, disrupting the chemistry of chlorine, hydrogen and nitrogen, which regulates ozone. “This is the first major measurement of tobacco, which shows that it converts these ozone-regulating substances into more chemically active ozone-depleting substances.”

However, as with ozone holes over the planet’s polar regions, fortunately this damage is temporary and ozone levels eventually return to pre-fire levels once the smoke disappears from the stratosphere. However, according to researchers, a gradual increase in the frequency of large fires, as the climate changes due to the gradual rise in temperature of the Earth, will result in the destruction of atmospheric ozone becoming more frequent and thus its restoration increasingly difficult .

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