8.6 Satellite views of the unprecedented stratospheric smoke plume after the 7 February 2009 Victoria pyrocumulonimbus storms

Wednesday, 26 January 2011: 5:15 PM
3B (Washington State Convention Center)
Michael D. Fromm, NRL, Washington, DC

On 7 February 2009, a date known in Australia as “Black Saturday,” the state of Victoria experienced unprecedented fire-weather conditions. Extremes of temperature, wind, and low relative humidity led to explosive fire growth and pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) storms that devastated property and caused many deaths. Presently it appears that the atmospheric effect of the pyroCbs might be equally extreme. Biomass burning emissions such as CO and HCN were measured in the stratosphere in unprecedented abundance for more than one month after Black Saturday. Smoke from these blowups was observed at altitudes greater than 20 km well into Austral autumn. The spread of this stratospheric pall extended from the tropics to Antarctica. Here we will show satellite observations that prove the extreme abundance and altitude of the Black Saturday plume. OMI absorbing aerosol index features were traceable for 25 days, and CALIPSO aerosol profiles showed smoke signatures in early April. ACE Imager aerosol extinction profiles reveal that Black Saturday smoke in the stratosphere was advected from its source in southeastern Australia across the Equator into the northern hemisphere.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner