Fire in the Ozone

The latest in recent catastrophic natural fires have been occurring in Australia. The cause of most of the Australian fires have been natural, with only 24 official arrests for intentional starting bushfires (the mass media report of over 200 arrests were recently found to be fake-news, mostly spread by bots).  In contrast, the great tropical fires of Brazil and Africa, accounting to over 1.6 million hectares burnt in 2019 (University of Maryland; Global Forest Watch), are largely due to human activities. Additionally, although not widely published, are the large Siberian outbreak of fires since 2019, which has released an estimated 166 metric tons of CO2.

It is, therefore, obvious that we are experiencing great destruction to fauna and flora, oxygen production, and devastating contributions to the climate change crises. A recent article in Science News has highlighted research on an additional worry, the effects of the smoke on the ozone layer.

Usually smoke does not reach such high altitudes. However, what the research demonstrated is that with so many fires in a small region the heat pushes the smoke to elevated heights. The smoke can linger in the higher regions of the ozone layer for up to eight months, damaging the ozone layer, yet dimming out sunlight to the earth. In the long-term, the reduction in light could affect agriculture negatively, but for a short period. However, when dissipated, the effects of the damage to the ozone will remain for a much longer period.

When economic-gains tragically win.