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Kuwait oil fires set by retreating Iraqi troops

An aerial view of Kuwait oil fires set by retreating Iraqi troops in last days of Persian Gulf War

An aerial view of Kuwait oil fires set by retreating Iraqi troops in the last days of the Persian Gulf War (late 1990 to early 1991). The resulting inferno emitted large amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere, while locally the thick smoke blocked sunlight, lowered temperatures, and engulfed the area in a mist of microscopic oil droplets.

National Science Foundation-funded researchers collected data on the ground and in the air using heavily instrumented planes. This was some of the most extensive data collected on the atmospheric behavior of the fire's giant smoke plumes.

Credit: Robert Bumpas, NCAR

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