MIT NEWS OFFICE Study: Smoke particles from wildfires can erode the ozone layer Jennifer Chu Wednesday, March 8, 2023
A wildfire can pump smoke up into the stratosphere, where the particles drift for over a year. A new MIT study has found that while suspended there, these particles can trigger chemical reactions that erode the protective ozone layer shielding the Earth from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet radiation.
The study, which appears today in Nature, focuses on the smoke from the “Black Summer” megafire in eastern Australia, which burned from December 2019 into January 2020. The fires — the country’s most devastating on record — scorched tens of millions of acres and pumped more than 1 million tons of smoke into the atmosphere.
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