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Bushfires in Australia generating their own weather . . .

The bushfires in Australia are so big they're generating their own weather — 'pyrocumulonimbus' thunderstorms that can start more fires

fire fire
A diagram showing how pyrocumulonimbus clouds are formed.
Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria
  • The Australia bushfires are generating "pyrocumulonimbus" clouds, which create their own thunderstorms that can start more fires.
  • Here's how the process works and why it's so dangerous.
  • Visit Insider.com for more stories.

The bushfires in Australia are now so big that they are generating their own weather, in the form of giant thunderstorms that start more fires, according to the Bureau of Meteorology in Victoria.

"Pyro-cumulonimbus clouds have developed to altitudes over 16km in East #Gippsland this afternoon. These fire-induced storms can spread fires through lightning, lofting of embers and generation of severe wind outflows," the bureau tweeted on Monday.

Satellite photography shows the intense smoke generating atmospheric clouds.

Intense fires generate smoke, obviously. But their heat can also create a localized updraft powerful enough to create its own changes in the atmosphere above. As the heat and smoke rise, the cloud plume can cool off, generating a large, puffy cloud full of potential rain. The plume can also scatter embers and hot ash over a wider area.

Eventually, water droplets in the cloud condense, generating a downburst of rain — maybe. But the "front" between the calm air outside the fire zone and a pyrocumulonimbus storm cloud is so sharp that it also generates lightning — and that can start new fires.

Scientists worry that "pyroCbs" are on the rise around the world, driven by warmer temperatures and more intense fires, Yale E360 reported. Their plumes are so strong that they can even shoot smoke into the stratosphere, 6 to 30 miles above the Earth's surface.

Here is a time lapse of a pyrocumulonimbus storm in action, from a different Australian fire:

Link to original article: https://www.insider.com/australia-bushfires-generate-pyrocumulonimbus-thunderstorm-clouds-2019-12?fbclid=IwAR2rQHQfn9__Bsq3LbtlClfgU2V_S24XXThtu8cT0-YpPHopdQGUPCBZwLo

David Harris Ohauiti Weather Station: WH1091 Wireless Weather Station Website: http://www.ohauitiweather.co.nz Powered By: Cumulus MX 3.0.0 b3041 "If it wasn't for the last minute nothing would ever get done"