These remarkable satellite images of huge smoke clouds billowing into the atmosphere show the devastating effect of the Russian bog fires which are threatening to choke the country.
The fires have been raging since last month sending temperatures across central and western Russia soaring to 35 celsius (95F).
Tens of thousands of people living in Moscow have been forced to flee the city to escape the acrid fumes.
More than 50,000 hectares of peat bogs and forests are blazing after the hottest summer in Russia for 130 years.
Scientists at Leicester University today released satellite images of the acrid clouds spreading thousands of miles across the western side of the country.
Dr David Moore, from the Earth Observation Science Group based at the university’s Space Research Centre, said: ”Using measurements from space borne instruments, we’ve been able to observe the vast extent of the smoke released from numerous wildfires in western Russia.
”The pollutants contained within these smoke plumes can have a profound effect on both the local and regional air quality and atmospheric chemistry.
”A key aspect of our ongoing investigations will be to quantify the impact the fires have had on indirect greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon monoxide.”
The team used equipment on the European satellite MetOp-A, to capture the images which were taken earlier this month.
The information will now be used to determine pollutant levels to Russia and the rest of the world.
The heatwave has seen the country’s death rate double to 700 people a day.
It has also destroyed more than a third of Russia’s wheat crop leading the government to ban its export.
The impact has led to the price of wheat soaring in global markets.
Flights in and out of Moscow have also been cancelled because of suffocating smog and tourists have been warned not to travel to the capital.
The satellite, which was launched in 2007, orbits the earth 15 times a day and is normally used to measure weather patterns.
Earlier this year, the same satellite was used to capture images of smoke from the Iceland volcano erupting.
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