Gargantuan Plume of Smoke from Canadian Wildfires Reaches Ireland
A massive plume of smoke from the wildfires raging in Canada has made its way across the Atlantic and has now reached Ireland. While the cloud caused a significant drop in air quality when it passed over North America, experts predict that its impact on Cork will be minimal. However, residents may experience spectacular deep red sunsets and hazy skies in the coming days. The wildfires in Canada have been ongoing since May, breaking national emissions records and causing widespread evacuations. The fires have had both domestic and international implications. Photographs taken by New York photographers show the orange haze that enveloped the city in the aftermath of the wildfires. Although Cork will not experience anything as dramatic, there will be noticeable effects.
Scientists from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) have been closely monitoring the plume’s journey across the Atlantic and its impact on Europe. They report that the plume began reaching the European coast in the second week of June. Smoke transported over long distances tends to occur at higher altitudes, where air pollutants have a longer atmospheric lifetime. This results in hazy skies and red/orange sunsets. CAMS has been tracking the intensity and estimated emissions of the wildfires, as well as the smoke transport. They noted a significant increase in aerosol optical depth and carbon monoxide in Europe between June 26 and 29, due to the intensification of the wildfires in Quebec and Ontario. While the plume is not expected to have a significant impact on surface air quality, CAMS continues to monitor the fine particles resulting from the fires.
Mark Parrington, Senior Scientist at CAMS, commented on the unusual nature of the wildfire emissions in Canada. He stated, “Our monitoring of the scale and persistence of the wildfire emissions across Canada since early May has shown how unusual it has been when compared to the two decades of our dataset.” He also emphasized that the long-range transport of smoke, which is currently being monitored, is not unusual and is not expected to significantly affect air quality in Europe. However, the high values of aerosol optical depth and other pollutants associated with the plume reaching the European coast serve as a clear reflection of the intensity of the fires in Canada.
As the plume of smoke continues to disperse over Ireland, residents can expect to witness striking sunsets and potentially hazy skies. While the impact on air quality is expected to be minimal, it serves as a stark reminder of the devastating wildfires occurring in Canada and their far-reaching consequences. CAMS will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on any changes in air quality related to the wildfires.