PARIS: Smoke from monster wildfires in Australia caused a chemical reaction that widened the ozone hole 10 per cent, researchers said on Wednesday, raising fears that increasing forest fires could delay the recovery of Earth’s atmospheric protection against deadly UV radiation.

Severe summer heat and drought helped drive the deadly “Black Summer” fires from late 2019 to early 2020, which destroyed vast swathes of eucalyptus forest and enveloped Sydney and other cities in smoke and ash for months.

In a new study, published in the journal Nature, researchers in the United States and China identified a previously unknown chemical reaction in the wildfire smoke that increased the depletion of ozone — the atmospheric gas that reduces the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2023

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