Smoke from the major west coast fires has now reached parts of Western Europe. Earlier this week smoke had reached parts of the East Coast. The NWS forecast for last Wednesday shows major smoke moving into Canada, the North East U.S., and all the way down to Virginia.
The smoke has hitched a ride via the jetstream, allowing it to travel extremely far from its origins along the Pacific Ocean. Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring System has been tracking the smoke as it moves across the Atlantic ocean towards Western Europe.
While smoke reaching Europe from North America is not a new event, it is not normal for smoke from the Western United States. This smoke pattern usually occurs only 1 or 2 times a year from major fires in British Columbia. Seeing smoke from Oregon and California reach Europe is a very unusual event. The jet stream has recently pushed south into the United States allowing for the smoke to be pushed east for the first time this fire season. While this might be a one-time event, as long as the jet stream continues to sit in the region smoke will continue to be pushed East.
This fire season has been historic for many states, especially for those in the Western United States. Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service had this to say in a press release,
“The scale and magnitude of these fires are at a level much higher than in any of the 18 years that our monitoring data covers, since 2003”
– Mark Parrington
Scientists are concerned that these fires are apart of a positive feedback loop caused by human-induced climate change. These major fires emit greenhouse gas emissions which in turn help warm the planet and create conditions suitable for even more major fires. This type of loop could be devastating for not only the United States but also for other regions such as the Arctic and Australia which have also seen major fire seasons in recent years.
Thank you to the thousands of personal fighting the fires in the West. You are the heroes of this fight and your work does not go unnoticed. Praying for rain to hit the west coast soon.