A Summer of Fire-Breathing Smoke Storms

A Summer of Fire-Breathing Smoke Storms

Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) first reported that smoke plumes from intense wildfires could spawn towering thunderstorms that channeled smoke as high or higher than the cruising altitude of jets. The latest encounters with these fire-breathing smoke clouds came in North America in June and July 2021 during an unusually warm fire season that arrived early in Canadian and U.S. forests. It was more of the wildfire smoke storms than scientists have ever observed in North America on a single day since they started tracking all of them with satellites in 2013. Because smoke particles in pyroCbs limit the size of water droplets, the thunderstorms produce minimal rain. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image above shows several pyroCbs rising from smoke plumes that were part of that outbreak.

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