The skies in Edmonton, Canada were recently so red and smoky that a local meteorologist told NASA "it looked like we were on Mars."
Now, that prodigious wildfire smoke has left Canada, streamed thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean, and passed over the UK. On Monday morning, the UK Met Office posted imagery of the North American wildfire smoke sailing over the island nation.
The early-season Canadian fires, which smothered much of Alberta in wildfire smoke in May, are consistent with wildfire research which concludes that, as temperatures climb and fire weather increases, the burning season is expected to grow longer and fuel "larger and more intense fires."
"The climate is changing," Mike Flannigan, a fire scientist at the University of Alberta, told Mashable in December, after the destructive 2018 fire season. "We’re getting more extreme weather for fire, and there are more people on the landscape," he added, noting that the problem is confounded by people moving into fire country.
Five large hotspots, burning over 850,000 acres of dense forest, contributed to the bounties of smoke. The brown-haze was so mighty, it appeared clearly in satellite images taken 1 million miles away from Earth.
Image: noaa / nasa
Days before the crossing the Atlantic, the smoke also streamed across the border into the U.S., an event also captured by satellites.
These fires emitted so much heat and smoke that they lofted clouds of smoke tens of thousands of feet into the atmosphere, wherein a jet stream — a wavy band of powerful, high-altitude winds that stream east around the world — picked up the smoke and swiftly transported it to the UK.
The recent spate of enormous fires, however, is not exceptional. In May through June of 2016, Alberta experienced the costliest Canadian disaster ever, after the Alberta Wildfire left $4.7 billion in Canadian dollars (about $3.5 billion U.S.) in damage and some 1.5 million acres burned.
You might say there's a conspicuous trend, easily visible from space.