As Russia continues to struggle its worst heat wave in about 130 years, NASA has released a short video showing how the wildfires currently rampaging through the country are polluting the skies around the region.
The colours show carbon monoxide concentration at 5.5km, as measured by an atmospheric infrared sounder on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft.
According to NASA:
Among the pollutants created by wildfires is carbon monoxide, a gas that can pose a variety of health risks at ground level. Carbon monoxide is also an ingredient in the production of ground-level ozone, which causes numerous respiratory problems. As the carbon monoxide from these wildfires is lofted into the atmosphere, it becomes caught in the lower bounds of the mid-latitude jet stream, which swiftly transports it around the globe.
Just to make a bad situation slightly worse, Russian officials have confirmed that the fires have reached forests in the Bryansk region, which are still tainted by radioactive dust from the 1986 Chernobyl reactor disaster. The fear is that this will propel dangerous amounts of radioactive material into the air.
However, experts said on Thursday the health risk to people is “negligible”.