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Monitoring air pollution from fires
09 September 2019
The wildfires that have been devastating the Amazon rainforest have been international headline news over the last weeks. These fires are not only an environmental tragedy in terms of lost forest and biodiversity, but they are also leaving their mark on the atmosphere, affecting air quality and, potentially, the global climate.
In light of the climate crisis, the loss of swathes of forest is a serious concern. Everyone on Earth benefits from the health of rainforests like the Amazon. Trees acts as sinks for carbon, absorbing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide – one of the main greenhouse gases – and therefore helping to cool the planet.
Consumed by fires in recent months, forests are releasing much of the carbon dioxide they once stored in their biomass back into the atmosphere. However, there are also a host of other pollutants entering the air. The Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission is being used to closely monitor the changes in air quality.