Why has the smoke from the California fires reached Spain?

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The smoke from the fires in California (USA), which has been seen these days in the Balearic Islands, although also in other areas of Europe, is not strange, although it is a curiosity, which is due to the dimensions of the fires and the interaction of the high-altitude smoke with the polar jet that runs through the planet.

Being such powerful fires, the smoke rises a lot and reaches several kilometers in height, as in this case in which, when interact with the polar jet that circulates around the planethas moved from California to Europe, explained Juan José Villena, an expert in meteorology from the Meteored service.

The great plumes of smoke from fires as important as those in California, which have already devastated near one million hectares in wooded area, “can last a long time floating in the air” and travel thousands and thousands of kilometers around the planet.

These types of forest fires, which also occur elsewhere, are estimated to emit up to three million tons of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane.

In the case of smoke reaching Europe from California, the concentrations are small, scarce and very high, so it does not involve risks, explains the expert.

The smoke from the California fires this summer has risen to a tremendous height, predictably on the order of between 7 and 10 kilometers and even more and “it has entered the polar jet, which is a current of air that circulates around the planet from west to east at about 250 kilometers per hour more or less.”

“It is not something strange, but a curiosity”, that the smoke has reached Europe, where it has left interesting images “with that grayish aspect” in the sky. An example is the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, and elsewhere in the center of the continent; it has also occurred in the British Isles, before reaching the Cantabrian area to be channeled through the Ebro to the Balearic Islands.

It is common for the smoke to travel thousands of kilometers when the fires are powerful, he has insisted, as has already happened with those in Siberia, whose smoke was seen in the United States, or those in Australia, which reached parts of South America.



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