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Scientists flew through the plumes of smoke rising from the Yorkshire moor fires to sample pollution levels.
Operating the UK's specially-adapted research aircraft, a team of NERC-funded scientists have measured and sampled the air pollution released from the moorland fires at Winter Hill and Saddleworth.
Heatwave - UK - Peaty - Warming - Way
The recent heatwave has left the UK's peaty moorlands vulnerable to burning, contributing to global warming in the same way as burning fossil fuels. The blazes broke out on the moors in late June during hot, dry weather and have continued throughout the heatwave despite ongoing efforts from the Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service.
Samples from the fire plumes taken on Thursday by researchers from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) on board the NERC and Met Office aircraft know as Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM). The team has previously used the airborne laboratory to measure methane levels from tropical fires in Africa, but are now using the same techniques to understand the UK moorland fires.
Samples - Gases - Methane - Peat - Pollutants
The samples are being analysed to identify gases like methane coming from the burning peat and will identify the other pollutants being released.
This work is part of Project MOYA - the global methane budget, which is a major project funded by NERC.
Flight - Lead - James - Lee
Flight Lead James Lee said:
"Molecule for molecule, methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The amount of methane in the air is rising fast, but scientists do not yet know why. This study of methane released from peat fires will be very helpful in identifying how much of the rise is from the burning of organic material such as peat and plants, and how much from other sources like gas leaks, coal mining, swamps and cows.
Weather - Change - Moorland - Fires - UK
More hot dry weather due to climate change is likely to lead to more moorland fires in the UK and...
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