This map shows how carbon monoxide from the Amazon wildfires is affecting the world

This map shows how carbon monoxide from the Amazon wildfires is affecting the world

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Aqua satellite shows how the carbon monoxide from the Amazon wildfires is affecting the rest of the world.
  • As the 'Lungs of the Planet', Amazonia produces 20% of the world's oxygen making it a global issue.
  • Brazil's President, Jair Bolsnaro, states that any offers of international help are only 'interference' in Brazil's sovereignty, which caters to 60% of the Amazon region.
As forces on ground fight over who's responsible for the Amazon wildfires, eyes in the sky are tracking how the resulting carbon monoxide is affecting the rest of the world.

This map shows how carbon monoxide from the Amazon wildfires is affecting the world
NASA's AIRS Maps Carbon Monoxide from Brazil FiresNASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's ( NASA) Aqua satellite was able to capture the movement of carbon monoxide as it rose from the Amazon region of Brazil and spread out over other parts of South America.

Going from green to red

Carbon monoxide can travel long distances supported by wind and can stick around in the atmosphere for nearly a month before dissipating.

The 3-day time series captured by NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) is measuring the carbon monoxide levels at an altitude of 18,000 feet — the same as Mount Kala Pathar in Nepal or Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.


At an altitude that high, it's unlikely to impact the air that most people breathe. But, if strong winds were to push the pollutant downwards — there would be a severe impact on air quality.

As the colours move from green to yellow to dark red, the carbon monoxide's parts per billion are increasing — and local values might be higher.

Intentional or unintentional

Some of the Amazon wildfires are natural but others might have a human hand. Illegal loggers and miners are allegedly responsible for arson attacks in indegenous territories, according to Amnesty International.

The Braziallian president Jair Bolsonaro, is claiming that all media reports are propaganda to undermine his government. He alleged that non-government organisations (NGOs) are behind setting the fires to get back at him for cutting down on state funding.

The 'Lungs of the Planet' provide 20% of the Earth's oxygen, which in turn, means that the burning of the Amazon forest is a global issue.

French President Emmanual Macron and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the Amazon fires are an 'international crisis' and should be discussed at the upcoming G7 Summit — of which Brazil is not a participant.

Bolsonaro did not see the gesture as an offer of help but interference. "There countries that send money here they don't send it out of charity… They sent it with the aim of interfering with our sovereignty," he stated during a Facebook Live Broadcast.

See also:
Wildfires are burning from the the Amazon to the Arctic — Here's why you should be worried

Fires in the Amazon could be part of a doomsday scenario that sees the rainforest spewing carbon into the atmosphere and speeding up climate change even more

The 'lungs of the planet' are in danger of reaching a tipping point that could turn the Amazon rainforest into a savannah