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A firefighter works at the scene of the Bobcat Fire burning on hillsides near Monrovia Canyon Park in Monrovia, California on Tuesday. Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

Smoke from the historic wildfires ravaging the U.S. West was observed over the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe this week, and it will return to the continent this weekend, per European scientists' research.

Why it matters: "The fact that these fires are emitting so much pollution into the atmosphere that we can still see thick smoke" some 5,000 miles away "reflects just how devastating they have been in their magnitude and duration," said Mark Parrington, senior scientist at the European Commission's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), which studied the data, in a statement.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • Smoke usually travels from North America to Europe one or two times in a year, from "wildfires in British Columbia" but not from the U.S., Parrington told the Washington Post.

What they found: CAMS observed via satellite imagery the transportation of smoke from mega-fires in California, Oregon and Washington to Europe between Aug. 15 and Sept. 14.

  • The activity this year has been "tens to hundreds of times more intense than the 2003–2019 average in the US in general, as well as in several affected states," according to CAMS' report.
  • The fires in California and Oregon in particular "have already emitted far more carbon in 2020 than in any other year since CAMS records begin in 2003."

Of note: Parrington pointed out in his statement the massive scale of the smoke thickness, or aerosol optical depth (AOD), from the wildfires.

"Over the western US, AOD levels have been observed to reach values of seven or above; to put this into perspective, an AOD measurement of one already implies very hazy conditions and potentially poor air quality."

Go deeper

Updated Nov 9, 2020 - Health

23 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

23 states set new highs last week for coronavirus infections recorded in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project (CTP) and state health departments. 15 states surpassed records from the previous week.

Why it matters: More states across the country are handling record-high caseloads than this summer.

34 mins ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.