Biomass burning and climate: the rivers of smoke

Stuart Piketh

Stuart Piketh, Professeur à l’Université de North-West en Afrique du Sud et invité à l’IPSL en 2023, est spécialiste des questions de pollution atmosphérique (émission, transport et impact).


Date de début 16/06/2023 14:00
Date de fin 16/06/2023


Widespread, coherent bands of smoke from biomass burning are regularly observed to cross the southern African sub-continent near the end of southern Africa’s dry season, and particularly in September. These features are generally referred to as a ‘rivers of smoke’ (owing to the sharply defined boundaries of the smoke plume, giving them the appearance of a ‘river’) and can be several hundred kilometers wide and extend over a few thousands of kilometers while flowing off the southeast coast of Africa.

The smoke transported in these rivers is coming from thousands of agricultural fires and natural fires burning in Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, favored by dry conditions during the austral winter. The river-of-smoke events generally correspond to the direct eastward transport of biomass burning aerosols from southern Africa to the southwest Indian Ocean. Massive amounts of aerosols and gases (e.g. carbon monoxide) are then advected towards the Indian ocean and as far as southeast Australia, with potential important implications for the radiative budget and the marine productivity of the region.

This seminar will present the state of knowledge on large and mesoscale meteorology controlling the rivers of smoke. It will highlight existing observations of their spatial distribution and frequency and persistence in the atmosphere during long-range transport.

Informations supplémentaires

En visio
ID de réunion : 990 8602 4951
Code secret : 2E0Dnq