For sustainable society


Whereabouts of carbon monoxide generated by Amazon fires

 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced a new animation showing the concentration of carbon monoxide generated by the wildfires in Brazil and been tracking the changes each day starting from August 8. Brazil experienced record wildfires this year, with more than 66,000 wildfires occurring in just the month of August. This animation shows the carbon monoxide concentrations at an altitude of 18,000ft (5,500m).

 The data was gathered by the “Aqua” satellite. This satellite is equipped with the “Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS)” instrument that measures the temperature and humidity of the atmosphere, and earth’s surface temperature, and the animation was created based on the information collected by this instrument. The animation shows the carbon monoxide that occurred from August 8 to 22 by level.

 On the map, green, yellow and red parts represent 100ppbv, 120ppbv, and 160ppbv for each. The unit of “ppbv (part per billion in volume)” refers to a state in which 1 cubic centimeter of gas is contained in 1,000 cubic meter atmosphere. Carbon monoxide is, as the days progress, expected to move toward the southeastern part of Brazil with increasing concentration.

 According to NASA, carbon monoxide is able to hang out in the atmosphere for around one month. If the gas stayed trapped that high up in the atmosphere, it wouldn’t have much of an impact on the air humans breath. However, NASA warns that it may significantly impact air quality if strong wind pulls the carbon monoxide lower.

 The carbon monoxide is released by the trees as it burns, and it not only pollutes the air but also makes a major impact on climate change. The Amazon Environmental Research Institute, an environmental protection organization in the United States, says that the massive wildfire this time was caused by deforestation. NASA has been tracking the fires with its Earth satellites and publishes the latest information.