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GOME-2 observes Australian fires

(PresseBox) (Darmstadt, ) The Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2 (GOME-2) instrument on EUMETSAT's Metop-A polar-orbiting satellite observed the smoke plume of the Australian wildfires from space.

The death toll from the wildfires in south-eastern Australia has now reached 200, the largest number of casualties due to a natural disaster in the country in 110 years.

The GOME-2 instrument measured the amount of smoke particles as well as the amount of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emitted by the fires. The amount of smoke particles is estimated by a so-called Absorbing Aerosol Index, which is a relative quantity with respect to the clear-sky situation. The amount of NO2 is measured in numbers of molecules in a column above one square centimetre of the surface. The figures show the huge smoke plume produced by the fires on 7 February extending 2,500 km and reaching over southern New Zealand. During the following days, the plume spread further northwards. The NO2 plume vanished by then because of the relatively short lifetime of NO2 in the atmosphere.

The image shows the Smoke plume as observed by GOME-2 on Metop-A of the Australian wildfires extending over more than 2,500 kilometres reaching southern New Zealand.