The clouds created by the smoke

It happens more and more often. It can be in Australia, California, or South America. They are forest fires. They cause pollution, displaced people and forest loss. And strange meteorological phenomena too. For example the clouds created by smoke, pyrocumulonimbus.

Clouds created by smoke, pyrocumulonimbus, appear in forest fires.
Clouds created by smoke, pyrocumulonimbus, appear in forest fires.
Bigger and more threatening than ever

One of them was registered last week. NASA says it could be the largest in American history. It was produced by smoke rising up to nine miles above Fresno County. It was visible from space to the US space agency’s satellites. And it was reported by passengers on several planes that flew through the area.

So large was its size that NASA reported the cloud had blocked the visibility of its satellites over parts of California. These types of clouds are also named Cumulonimbus Flammagenitus. They are “artificially” created by a natural heat source such as a forest fire or a volcano.

“The hot air that comes out of the fire can carry water vapor into the atmosphere and create clouds. Any type of convective cloud can be created. In this case, a cumulonimbus or storm cloud was created, ”NASA said. It’s usually the most dangerous. By creating a storm cloud, the lightning and winds that cause it can cause the fire to spread or create new sources of fire.

The satellite view shows the location of the cloud near the fire.
The satellite view shows the location of the cloud near the fire.

There are currently more than 100 fires registered in at least 12 US states. California, Washington, and Oregon are hardest hit. California is the state that reports the most fires. There are more than 25, including three of the five largest in its history. More than 3.1 million acres have been burned in the past few days, a record for the state. Equivalent to ten times the city of New York.

Again the climate change

The area has experienced extreme weather events. Climate change itself is not the cause of the fires, but it does help create the conditions for massive forest fires. The western United States is experiencing severe heat waves. Not so long ago, at 54.4 ° C, the highest temperature ever reliably measured on the planet was reached. These hot and dry conditions have made the region more vulnerable to forest fires.

Record temperatures and even snow in other states like Colorado have also created high winds in the west. Dry air currents often contribute to the spread of fires in the fall months. The clouds created by the smoke, the pyrocumulonimbus, threaten to become more frequent as a result of these events.

Yes, the world is hot. It’s up to us to lower the temperature at least a little.

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