Fires in Africa

Fires in Africa

5 September 2008

Carbon Monoxide over Africa

In southern Africa, people light thousands of fires for managing crop and pasture land during the annual dry season. Although such fires are not necessarily immediately hazardous, they have a strong influence on climate and air quality. One way to track the impact of these fires on atmospheric chemistry is through observations of carbon monoxide, a colorless, long-lived gas that results when vegetation burns.

This image of Africa reveals carbon monoxide concentrations between 25 August and 1 September 2008, based on data from the Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere sensor (MOPITT) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Places where the amount of carbon monoxide was very high in the column of air between the satellite and the Earth’s surface are red. The high concentrations of carbon monoxide off the west-central coast of the continent are linked to widespread agricultural burning that is common this time of year in Angola and neighboring countries. The pocket of high carbon monoxide over southeastern Africa is linked to intense fires in Mozambique and South Africa.

25 August – 1 September 2008

Click on the image to view the high-resolution version.

(source: earth observatory)

For further information please also vist the GFMC media and news page at:

Selected articles:

  • Botswana: Veld fires ravage Central District (published by, 4 September 2008)
  • South Africa:Photos ‘show negligence in KZN fires’ (published by, 4 September 2008)
  • South Africa:Deadly brush fires hit South Africa (published by, 3 September 2008)
  • South Africa:S.African bush fire death toll rises to 23 (published by, 3 September 2008)
  • South Africa:Veld fires cause havoc (published by, 3 September 2008)
  • Mozambique: Mozambique: Uncontrolled Bush Fires Kill Four (published by, 3 September 2008)
  • South Africa:How park staff saved animals from blaze (published by, 2 September 2008)
  • South Africa:Veld fire kills Limpopo worker (published by, 2 September 2008)
  •  South Africa:Wildfire a big break for Harem? (published by, 2 September 2008)
  • South Africa:WoF Press Release: Current Fire Situation (published byWorking on Fire Programme, 1 September 2008)
  • South Africa:’It’s like a war zone here’ (published by, 1 September 2008)
  • South Africa:100 South African Brush Fires Burn 125,000 Acres; 20 Killed, 30 Hospitalized (published by, 1 September 2008)
  • South Africa: Fires rage countrywide (published by, 1 September 2008)
  • Botswana:Residents reluctant to fight veld fires (published by,1 September 2008)

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