July 14, 2024

Rain washes away debris from Canadian wildfires

Rain washes away debris from Canadian wildfires


By Clemens Hogg

July 24, 2023 at 1:38 pm

In Canada, wildfires continue to burn violently, with winds carrying smoke particles eastward across the Atlantic. But you shouldn’t notice anything in the coming week thanks to rain in this country.

The hot and dry summer weather takes a short break in Northern Europe. Low pressure areas over Iceland and the North Atlantic bring cool and moist air, meaning cloud and occasional rain. As of now, the weather will last till the first week of August. “For the time being we will have a dominant westerly wind direction,” said Kathleen Hickman, a meteorologist at the German Meteorological Service in Leipzig.

But winds still blow from Canada, where wildfires have been raging since May. Because of the rain, we should only get a little smoke from it.

Air from forest fires in North America flows into Europe

Canada has also moderated slightly. Widespread areas of rain have made it easier for firefighters in some areas, meaning the fire has not spread further since earlier in the week. However, with 907 active fires, 560 of which are not contained, fires continue to burn at an all-time high in Canada. 114,000 square kilometers of forest have burned this year, half the size of Poland.

Some fires that burn particularly well throw soot particles into the stratosphere, where they reach Europe via the global westerly winds. Fire also produces carbon monoxide. Who can travel around the world? According to the German Weather Service Used as an indicator for the distribution of smoke particles. And small amounts of carbon monoxide produced by the fires have repeatedly reached Germany, at least according to European estimates. Environmental Information Service Copernicus.

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Copernicus service forecast of atmospheric carbon monoxide (CO) for Monday, July 23, 2023.
Image copyright: CAMS/Copernicus

Measurements by lidar show persistent smoke over Leipzig from North America

However, due to smoke particles in the air, the phenomenon of a particularly red sunset should not occur in the coming weeks. “Aerosols are washed away by precipitation,” says meteorologist Hickman.

Soot particles make the sun and moon appear red



Image copyright: Stephanie Lishek | Melina Ainsfeld

However, this only applies to lower air layers. “Smoke from North American wildfires is still in central Europe. Because the upper-level currents at our latitudes are mostly dominated by westerly winds, plumes of smoke from wildfires there continue to be transported across the Atlantic to us in Europe,” says the Leibnitz Institute for Tropospheric Research in Leipzig (TROP). His team has repeatedly detected smog in Leipzig in recent weeks using lidar technology.

Correction July 24An early version of this article suggested that wind carried the smoke westward from Canada to Europe. However, Europe is to the east of Canada, so it should really be “to the east”. Thanks for the tip.

This topic in the project:MDR Television | Current | July 19, 2023 | 7:00 p.m

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