MASSIVE WILDFIRE CLOUDS can be as dangerous as volcanic eruptions in some respects. As wildfires become more common, these clouds are becoming a greater hazard. This is addressed in the article “Towering fire-fueled thunderclouds can spew as many aerosols as volcanic eruptions,” which“As warming worsens wildfires, it may create conditions ripe for stronger pyrocumulonimbus clouds.”
The article was written by for Science New (in two sentences: “A massive tower of smoke generated by Australian wildfires in late 2019 set a new record for the loftiest and largest fire-spawned thunderstorms ever measured. In terms of sheer number of aerosols sent into the stratosphere, the Australian plumes were on par with the strongest volcanic eruptions in the last 25 years.”
Regarding volcanic aerosols:
“Explosive volcanic eruptions have the potential to inject substantial amounts of sulfate aerosols into the lower stratosphere. In contrast to aerosol emissions in the lower troposphere, aerosols that enter the stratosphere may remain for several years before settling out, because of the relative absence of turbulent motions there.
Consequently, aerosols from explosive volcanic eruptions have the potential to affect Earth’s climate. Less-explosive eruptions, or eruptions that are less vertical in orientation, have a lower potential for substantial climate impact.
Furthermore, because of large-scale circulation patterns within the stratosphere, aerosols injected within tropical regions tend to spread out over the globe, whereas aerosols injected within midlatitude and polar regions tend to remain confined to the middle and high latitudes of that hemisphere.” (Britannica)
To read the entire Science News story, click here.
In terms of sheer number of aerosols sent into the stratosphere, the massive clouds created by wildfires in Australia in 2019 were on par with the strongest volcanic eruptions in the last 25 years. Click To Tweet
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is a massive, stratosphere-piercing pyrocumulonimbus (or pyroCb) cloud generated by smoke from wildfires in southeastern Australia’s Orroral Valley on January 31, 2020. (Photo: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images.)