Jul 17, 2018
Tonight's Guest WeatherBrain is a meteorologist at the Naval Research Laboratory. Dr. David Peterson, welcome to WeatherBrains! Last year was a record year for wildfires across the globe, and their impact on the atmosphere remains highly uncertain. Thanks to new research from expert scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, the world is gaining more insight into what drives these massive and escalating events. NRL meteorologist Dr. Peterson explained his findings from his recent research, "Wildfire-Driven Thunderstorms Cause a Volcano-Like Stratospheric Injection of Smoke," during a press conference at the European Geosciences Union's annual General Assembly in Vienna, Austria, held from April 8 to 13. "Our research shows that the stratospheric impact from five wildfire-driven thunderstorms, known as pyrocumulonimbus or pyroCb, was comparable to a moderate volcanic eruption," Peterson explained the NRL pryoCb research team's findings and that it's an interdisciplinary collaboration with scientists from both the Marine Meteorology and Remote Sensing Divisions within NRL. The significance of volcanic eruptions in the climate system has been recognized for several decades, but pyroCb research is relatively new, originating at NRL in the early 2000s, according to Peterson.