NASA maps carbon monoxide from Amazonian fires in Brazil



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In context: Often called the "lungs of the planet", the Amazon rainforest has been prone to a series of devastating fires that, according to the National Institute of Space Research, have made more than 75,000 incidents this year alone. Many describe these fires as deliberate on the part of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, accused of clearing the tropics for agricultural purposes while he blames non-governmental groups, seeking to ward off criticism. from his government. Facing growing global pressure, President Bolsonaro deployed troops and fighter jets on Friday to face the emergency, also under discussion at the 45th G7 summit in France.

In the midst of fires in the world's largest rainforest, NASA has used its AIRS (atmospheric infrared sounder) instrument onboard the Aqua satellite to display the movements and levels of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere.

Mapped over a two-week period (August 8-22) from an altitude of 5,500 meters (5,000 meters), the time series generated from the data received shows that the expanding plume in the region northwest of the Amazon drift to more concentrated plumes in the southeastern part. from Brazil.

Each day of the series is averaged over three days of measurements, a technique used to eliminate missing data. Green indicates carbon monoxide concentrations at about 100 parts per billion by volume (ppbv); in yellow, at about 120 ppbv; and dark red, at about 160 ppbv. Local values ​​can be considerably higher, "said NASA.

The unit parts per billion by volume (ppbv) used to describe the concentrations of a contaminant is called the number of mass units of a contaminant (carbon monoxide in this case) by 1000 million units of total mass (air in this case). ).

NASA further observes that a pollutant such as carbon monoxide, which contributes to climate change and air pollution, can travel long distances and remain in the atmosphere for about one year. month. Although the gas charted in the current images is at a higher altitude, strong winds can lower it, which significantly affects the quality of the air we breathe.

Al Jazeera said Sunday that President Jair Bolsonaor had authorized military operations in seven states to fight the fires, with G7 summit leaders expressing deep concern about the fires, with French President Emmanuel Macron referring to the conclusion of a technical cooperation agreement. and financial assistance "by the seven nations.

Main Image Credit: Greenpeace, Earth Time Series Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

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