HOME          CATEGORIES          OUR TAKE

OUR TAKE: Unintended Consequences! Bushfire Smoke Prompts Plankton Bloom

Who in Australia would have guessed the 2019-20 bushfires would trigger a huge, continent-sized phytoplankton bloom in the Southern Ocean?  Deadly to animals, out of season, unprecedented in two decades of satellite records, this anachronistic event was tracked by biological oceanographers of the University of Tasmania, with results published in Nature.

Evidently, aerosols in the bushfire smoke, stoked by stratospheric winds, fomented the vast microalgae bloom. Iron in ‘low, but significant concentrations, but up to several times normal level’, was relished by microscopic ocean plants in photosynthesis for growth.  Response to these off-season inflated-deposits and increased food source was rapid.  While uneven, one critical day’s black carbon smoke level was a quarter of the usual January total.

In a complimentary study, other researchers estimate over 700 million tonnes of carbon dioxide were generated by the Summer New Year’s bushfires.  Since phytoplankton blooms can act as carbon sinks, hopefully most of the catastrophe-generated, wind-blown CO2 was absorbed, although light and temperature are can be affecting factors.

Consequences, considerations, compensation – these studies by global ocean observing systems illustrate how Australian aerosols and carbon dioxide from major bushfires can viscerally impact on a distant environment.

 

image: https://thehackposts.com/aussie-wildfires-fed-giant-algae-blooms-thousands-of-miles-away/

 

Comment on this article

ClimateYou moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on email

More Posts Like This

CITY TECH BLOG

Pollution is a Problem for Everyone and the Earth

As residents of this planet Earth, it is our responsibility to be mindful of what we are doing to our planet. As the Earth continues to spin, all its inhabitants are all trying to survive and trying to fulfil their basic needs. Of the plethora of different species

CITY TECH BLOG

Climate Change in New York City

Climate change is a topic that’s always in debate, whether it’s real or not. Let me say that climate change is real, and it’s occurring more than usual. First, what is climate change? Climate change is a pattern change in the weather we see each day of each

CITY TECH BLOG

We Can Do Something About Climate Change

Climate change has been increasingly on the in this last decade and is a big concern we need to face for the next century. As a college student taking “Physics of Natural Disasters” interdisciplinary course, we are learning more about climate change.  But as just a normal citizen,

Take action in the fight against climate change