Smoke from fires in Canada is “unlikely” to affect air quality in Europe

While 81 wildfires are active in Quebec, 27 of which are considered out of control, smoke from the fires ravaging Canada reached continental Europe on Monday. But “it is unlikely” that the fine particles suspended in this fire smoke will have an impact on air quality in Europe, according to the European Observatory Copernicus.

Smoke from the unprecedented fires in Canada reached Western Europe on Monday, June 26, but the fine particles it contains circulate several kilometers above sea level and are “unlikely” to have an impact on air quality in Europe, it says European Observatory. Copernicus, interviewed by AFP.

“The smoke plume will reach the Iberian Peninsula as well as Ireland and the UK and will eventually cross France, the Benelux countries, Germany before continuing further east,” Mark Parrington said on Monday. , scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

“Our forecasts”, based on satellite observations, “show high values ​​of aerosol concentrations (…) across the Atlantic, but mainly at very high altitudes, and this is unlikely to have an impact on air quality in Europe,” he added.

These aerosols denote the fine particles suspended in this fire smoke, mainly composed of carbon monoxide, a “product of incomplete combustion” whose “atmospheric lifetime of about a month” makes it a “very good tracer of the transport of vapors”, emphasized scientist.

“Long-range transport of vapors and air pollution generally occurs at high altitudes, between 2 and 8 km, where the atmospheric lifetime of certain pollutants is longer and where they can be transported faster. by stronger winds, such as the jet stream in the case of smoke from fires in the boreal regions”, detailed Mark Parrington.

More than 7.4 million hectares burned since the beginning of January in Canada

“This phenomenon is not uncommon when emissions are large enough, as in the case of wildfires” and “virtually every year we observe similar transport of smoke across the Atlantic from fires in North America.”

“At the moment, no effect is expected for Paris and Île-de-France,” said the Airparif observatory, contacted by AFP on Monday morning. “But we cannot rule out the deposition, that is, fallout” if the atmospheric currents change in the coming days and the high layers mix with the lower layers, explained Pierre Pernot, an engineer at Air parif.

As of Sunday, 81 wildfires were still active in Quebec, including 27 that were considered out of control. Acrid smoke blanketed Montreal, where exceptional levels of pollution were reached, resulting in the cancellation of several cultural and sporting events.

Across the country, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center (CIFFC) lists 470 active fires, including 244 out of control. Canada is experiencing an unprecedented year with more than 7.4 million hectares burned since the beginning of January.

With AFP

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