Silky Oaks Resort and the Daintree Rainforest
On the way to the Silky Oaks Resort, we saw one more example of biomass burning as a practice of Australian agriculture. Here a sugar cane field is being burned off in preparation for harvest. This region of Queensland has about 150 bioengineered varieties of cane, fine tuned to fit each location.

Particles (smoke) from fires are carried aloft (this is in northeastern Australia underneath the InterTropical Convergence Zone or ITCZ. The ITCZ (see the satellite image from U. of Wisconsisn below), pumps warm surface air of the tropics into the upper atmosphere, transporting natural or human-generated substances along with water vapor. Aloft, transported particles form a platform for photochemical reactions. Under the influence of ultraviolet light from the Sun and supplied with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from industry in Indonesia and Taiwan, the ozone layer above this region is consistently thinned by catalytic behavior of the chlorine from the CFCs. Thinning of the ozone above the North End of Australia occurs in addition to the seasonal ozone hole over Antarctica.

RIGHT: The classic data image of 14 years of atmospheric ozone data from the TOMS satellite. Click on the image to see at full size.
LEFT: From the weather server at the University of Wisconsin, a summary of conditions on Earth. Shown in color code are ice cover, sea surface temperatures, land temperature and cloud height for January 19, 1996 (southern hemisphere summer). This is just prior to the current El Niño episode and corresponds to the Australian summer just before my trip in the months of June-August 1996.

Note the storminess in the ITCZ over the Top End (northeast) of Australia. Click on the image to see it full size.