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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-840
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-840
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  31 Aug 2020

31 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Stratospheric pollution from Canadian forest fires

Hugh C. Pumphrey1, Michael J. Schwartz2, Michelle L. Santee2, George P. Kablick III3, Michael D. Fromm3, and Nathaniel J. Livesey2 Hugh C. Pumphrey et al.
  • 1School of GeoSciences, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • 2NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 3US Naval Research Lab, Washington DC, USA

Abstract. Forest fires in British Columbia in August 2017 caused a pyrocumulonimbus event that injected a polluted airmass into the lower stratosphere. The Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on the Aura satellite first observed the polluted airmass on 14 August 2017 and continued to observe it for 60 days (100 days in water vapour). We estimate the mass of CO injected into the stratosphere to be 2–3 Tg. Events such as this are rare: this is the third of four such events in the 16 years since the launch of Aura, the second-largest of the four events, and the only one in the Northern Hemisphere. Unlike the preceding two events, but like the most recent event, the polluted airmass described here had an unusually high water vapour content.

Hugh C. Pumphrey et al.

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Hugh C. Pumphrey et al.

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Short summary
Forest fires in British Columbia in August 2017 caused an unusual phenomonon: smoke and gases from the fires rose quickly to a height of 10 km. From there, the pollution continued to rise more slowly for many weeks, travelling round the world as it did so. In this paper, we describe how we used data from a satellite instrument to observe this polluted volume of air. The satellite has now been working for 16 years but has observed only three events of this type.
Forest fires in British Columbia in August 2017 caused an unusual phenomonon: smoke and gases...
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