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Transcontinental Wildfire Emissions Monitored from Space

e the longer it travels. So, it was very surprising to find that even over Australian biomass-burning areas still up to 30% of the enhanced carbon monoxide levels from forest fires originate in South America."

Forest fires in South America produced much more carbon monoxide in 2004 than in 2003, Gloudemans explained. "These levels correlated to the amounts found over Australia for the same periods, confirming that the carbon monoxide levels over Australia are severely influenced by South American forest fires."

Plumes of carbon monoxide signal strong biomass burning. Apart from the carbon monoxide detected by SCIAMACHY, numerous other compounds are emitted that have severe consequences for air quality and climate.

Depending on the aridity, much of Australia is prone to fires between October and March, and the direct consequences for humans and the environment are disastrous. The fire season in South America, often concentrated in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela, lasts from July to December roughly and contributes up to 50% of the enhanced carbon monoxide levels in the atmosphere over Australia.


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