Smoke from the ongoing bushfire crisis in Australia is expected to travel ‘full circuit’ around the world, before returning to the country, NASA has warned.

The organisation has been using a fleet of satellites to analyse the smoke and aerosols coming from the fires which continue to blaze on in Australia.

After studying the smoke plumes since last month, the space agency says the smoke has already travelled ‘halfway across Earth’ and is affecting the air quality in many other countries.

Since the bushfires began in late July, at least 28 people have died across Australia, and more than 3,000 homes have been destroyed in New South Wales alone. The effect on wildlife has been staggering.

The existing fires have been exacerbated by constant heat and drought, which is believed to have been exaggerated by climate change.

NASA said by January 8, the smoke had already made its way ‘halfway around Earth’, as it travelled to South America, causing hazy skies while also creating colourful sunrises and sunsets.

New Zealand has already reported suffering from ‘severe air quality issues’ as a result of the fires, which are also darkening the snow on the country’s mountains, NASA added.

New Zealand turned brown

Earlier this month, it was reported that the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers in New Zealand had turned brown as a result of the smoke coming from the bushfires.

NASA said ‘unprecedented conditions’ of incredible heat and dryness have led to an ‘unusually large’ number of pyrocumulonimbus, which are fire induced thunderstorms triggered by an uplift of ash, smoke and burning material.

Nicholas Bellouin, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, told CNN that although it’s not unusual for particles from fires to travel the globe, the concentration of particles created by the fires in Australia was unusual and could affect air quality in other parts of the world, including Chile and Argentina.


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