The bleak news revolving around the Australian bushfires continues. NASA has predicted that the fires will produce enough smoke that it will circumnavigate the Earth, to return back to Australia.
As of January 8, NASA stated that this dangerous smoke had already made it halfway around the world. It's already had a clear impact in New Zealand and across South America.
What has NASA said?
"The smoke is expected to make at least one full circuit around the globe, returning once again to the skies over Australia," stated NASA.
The space agency also explained that the smoke has been "turning the skies hazy, and causing colorful sunrises and sunsets," in South America.
Australia's neighbor, New Zealand, is clearly suffering from the negative effects of the smoke: "The smoke is having a dramatic impact on New Zealand, causing severe air quality issues across the county and visibly darkening mountaintop snow." The nation is 1,200 kilometers (745.6 miles) away from Australia.
Typically known as the "land of the long white cloud", New Zealand may have to rethink its name if the currently more usual dark clouds continue to hover over the country.
Not just a local situation
The fires have so far brought about the death of an estimated 1 billion animals in Australia, and have killed at least 28 people. Countless numbers of homes have been damaged or entirely engulfed by the flames.
Satellite photos show the dark and murky clouds moving away from Australia, as they set off on their worldwide "tour."
These clouds are so big that they've created their own weather patterns, according to NASA. They have their own thunderstorms, which can spark fires. It's these storms that are pushing smoke up into our stratosphere, with certain plumes reaching as high as 15 kilometers up (9.3 miles) from the ground.
Catastrophic fires are ravaging large swaths of Australia, as seen in this image taken on Jan. 1 by one of our @NASAEarth observation instruments. Fire management officials can use satellite data like this to make life-saving decisions: https://t.co/22UjnM1LRS pic.twitter.com/gf4zeGvnLn— NASA (@NASA) January 2, 2020
This smoke "can travel thousands of miles from its source, affecting atmospheric conditions globally," stated NASA.
It's this smoke that will fall under intense scrutiny, as it's yet unknown what impact it will have on our global weather.
Currently, the Australian fires' devastation has wreaked more havoc than the 2019 Amazon fires.