The European Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service recently released information that the Australian fire had released about 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. According to foreign media analysis, this number has exceeded the total annual emissions of 116 countries with the lowest carbon dioxide emissions in the world.
In September 2019, the fire began to rage in Australia’s New South Wales and Queensland. To this day, Australia is still struggling with this protracted fire.
As one of the six services provided by the European Earth Observation Project Copernicus, the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service provides information on air pollution and health, solar energy, greenhouse gases and climate drivers around the world. The service has been closely monitoring the intensity of the fire and forecasting the transmission of air pollutants emitted by the fire.
Monitoring information shows that for most of December last year, the Australian fire was many times more severe than the previous 16-year average. As of January 3, 2020, nearly 6 million hectares of land in Australia have been destroyed by fire, which is larger than the land area of Croatia.
Eastern Australia generally does not see much fire and is now fighting the most extreme fires. On December 30 last year, a fire broke out in Victoria, Australia, and nearly 1 million hectares of land have now been burned by the fire. Adjacent to South Wales, the fire has been very rampant since early September last year. On January 2 this year, South Wales announced a one-week state of emergency in response to increased risks from high temperatures and strong winds.
In addition to damaging land and infrastructure, wildfires have a huge impact on air quality.
According to estimates, from January 4th to 5th this year, the area of smoke generated by the fire was about 20 million square kilometers, which was enough to cover entire Russia, plus one-third of Europe. On January 2nd, the world ’s highest atmospheric carbon monoxide concentration monitored by the Copernicus atmospheric monitoring service actually appeared in the once “pure” South Pacific. This carbon monoxide came from the fire in Australia.
Except for Australia, air pollution caused by the fire is seriously affecting New Zealand. According to forecasts, most of the smog is currently spreading in northern New Zealand, and some smog will continue to affect New Zealand in the next few days.
The Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service analyzed the cause of the fire and believes that the current rapid spread of the Australian fire is related to dry and hot environmental conditions.
According to analysis, in September 2019, the stratosphere over Antarctica suddenly increased in temperature and made the performance of the ozone hole very abnormal. This meteorological event also brought dry, hot winds throughout Australia, which in turn created the best conditions for spreading wildfires. In addition, throughout 2019, below-average rainfall in most parts of Australia has resulted in very dry soil and vegetation.