Smoke from large wildfires seems to damage the ozone layer

Flooding across eastern Australia prompts property investors to ask ‘pertinent’ questions

When floodwaters started to recede in south-east Queensland, real estate agent Daniel Burrell noticed a stark change in queries from potential investors.

“They’re even stretching back that far now, just asking about properties and what happened to them.”

The Toowoomba property agent said despite the city escaping major flooding this year, the issue had become front of mind for buyers not only concerned about potential damage, but also the cost of insurance in flood-prone areas…READ ON

Future of built environment depends on how well we manage extreme weather events. Image: Yellen

Smoke from large wildfires seems to damage the ozone layer

The ozone layer is often seen as a success story for human action to correct a climate emergency – but unfortunately we may be undoing our own hard work. A new study has shown that smoke from wildfires, such as those that recently devastated parts of Australia, can deplete the ozone layer further, delaying its recovery.

To investigate whether the wildfire smoke performs the same process, the team ran complex simulations of atmospheric chemical reactions, and examined models with and without huge clouds of smoke particles being added. And sure enough, all models with the smoke saw drastic drops in nitrogen dioxide.

The ozone layer sits in the Earth’s lower stratosphere, at altitudes between 15 and 35 km (9 and 22 miles), and reflects a large amount of the Sun’s damaging UV rays. This helps to keep the planet habitable, but in the mid-1980s a hole was discovered in this layer. Within a few years, the world came together to sign the Montreal Protocol into effect, banning the use of ozone-dissolving CFCs. The ozone hole has been shrinking ever since, preventing some of the worst-case climate scenarios…READ ON

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