Biomass Burning Observation Project
Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Brookehaven National Laboratory are testing air samples from wildfires in the northwest to better understand how they affect cloud formation and climate change.
The biomass observation project started here in July and will go through September.
The most recent fire they flew over was the Elk fire in Idaho yesterday.
Scientists are using a Gulfstream-1 aircraft based at Pasco Airport.
They fly it over a forest fire and take in air samples from the plumes of smoke.
Equipment on the aircraft then gathers data of different components of the particles, called aerosols to determine how they evolve over time.
According to scientists, it's important to pay attention to because all fires contribute to 40% of impure carbon particles, shown to contribute to global warming.
"It's really important science to help understand the different components of the climate system, I mean you can feel the weather everyday, that's not climate per se, but that's weather and I think we can relate to that. As our atmosphere is changing I think more and more people are becoming interested, personally I think how will the changing earth affect my kids and my grandkids?" said Jennifer Comstock, a scientist with PNNL.
It'll take 6 months to a year to collect all the data and get a good idea of exactly how wildfires contribute to the much bigger scale of burning biomasses.