Smoke from Australia's fires will make 'full circuit' around the world

Clay Curtis
January 16, 2020

The photo of the effects of the natural disaster was captured from space by Luca Parmitano, an astronaut from the European Space Agency.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch shared this image of smoke towering over Australia on January 14, 2020. Suomi NPP serves as an important link between the current generation of Earth-observing satellites and the next generation of climate and weather satellites.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed during the Democrat debate on Tuesday hosted by CNN that the massive brush fires in Australia were started by global warming.

Like Parmitano, other astronauts aboard the ISS have already witnessed past wildfires from space such as those in California and the Amazon previous year.

Australia is being ravaged by the worst wildfires seen in decades, with large swaths of the country devastated since the fire season began in late July.

"Talking to my crew mates, we realized that none of us had ever seen fires at such terrifying scale", Parmitano posted.

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The agency, in a posting last Friday, said that "Nasa satellites have (over the past week) observed an extraordinary amount of smoke injected into the atmosphere from the Australian fires and its subsequent eastward dispersal".

The smoke from Australia's fires is so vast that fumes from the early weeks of the crisis will survive a journey around the globe and are expected to return to the country's skies from the west, according to Nasa. "Satellites in orbit around the poles provide observations of the entire planet several times per day, whereas satellites in a geostationary orbit provide coarse-resolution imagery of fires, smoke and clouds every five to 15 minutes".

The space agency also explained that the smoke has been "turning the skies hazy, and causing colorful sunrises and sunsets", in South America. The smoke from the fires are making its way around the world, reported by NASA.

The Aerosol Index layer is useful for identifying and tracking the long-range transport of volcanic ash from volcanic eruptions, smoke from wildfires or biomass burning events and dust from desert dust storms, even tracking over clouds and areas of snow and ice.

Thunderstorms caused by the wildfires are accelerating the smoke plume in its path around the world.

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