Fire smoke in Australia will go 'full circuit' around the world

Elias Hubbard
January 15, 2020

This process is not unusual, according to University of Reading climate scientist Nicolas Bellouin.

Those 400 million tonnes take the form of acrid smoke billowing from the country, which has now started to creep overseas.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) wrote on its website that it has been tracking the movement of bushfire smoke more than 15 kilometres into the atmosphere.

The agency added that there were noticeable impacts on Australia's neighbour.

"The smoke is expected to make at least one full circuit around the globe, returning once again to the skies over Australia".

PyroCb events provide a pathway for smoke to reach the stratosphere more than 16 kilometers above sea level, and once there, smoke can travel thousands of kilometers from its source and affect atmospheric conditions worldwide, a NASA said.

The yellow in this graphic indicates the smoke haze travelling around the world.

Using a fleet of satellites, the space agency analyzed smoke and aerosols from fire flames in Australia. In fact, the cloud of smoke, which turned towards the Pacific Ocean, crossed South America on 1 January and completed half of the world tour by 8 January.

"It is more important than ever to support Australian tourism providers, whether in unaffected regions or those that will recover from these bushfires in the months and years to come", according to Australia Tourism.

More than 100 fires were still burning across Australia on Tuesday, with a number of towns and cities shrouded in smoke, but the prospect of coming rain offers a glimmer of hope. These periods carry a high risk of fire because of a combination of low rainfall, low humidity, high temperatures, and frequent high winds, although anomalies have been observed in certain regions.

The Australian Open began today with qualifying matches on open courts.

The competition is held annually in Melbourne, which overnight saw air quality drop to the worst on the planet due to fires in Victoria.

Effects were quickly visible during one of the qualifying matches when Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic suffered a coughing fit while playing against Switzerland's Stefanie Vögele.

He warned while the decision would likely be the "very, very last option" officials would have to consider delays due to player's health. "Limiting global warming to well below 2 degree celsius would help avoid further increases in the risk of extreme fire weather", said study researcher Richard Betts.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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