Science

Astronauts spot smoke from growing Australian wildfires from space

Astronauts spot smoke from growing Australian wildfires from space”

NASA has said that the smoke produced by the Australian wildfires will circle the globe and return to its point of origin.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch, who just completed 300 consecutive days in space on her first space mission, also shared several pictures from orbit showing dust flying across Australia and smoke rising from several fires.

Large Australian cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and Adelaide have also endured unsafe air quality levels due to smoke from nearby bushfires.

"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.

"The effects of those events - whether the smoke provides a net atmospheric cooling or warming, what happens to underlying clouds - is now the subject of intense study", NASA said.

"The smoke is expected to make at least one full circuit around the world and return to the skies over Australia again", the space agency said.

8, plumes from the firestorm had traveled all the way to South America, causing hazy skies and discolored sunrises and sunsets. The enhanced image above, created by NASA, shows an RGB "true-color" view of the smoke combined with the UV aerosol index.

Not only has it visibly darkened the mountaintop snow but it has damaged the air quality in New Zealand.

The space agency has also labelled Australia's bushfire-generated storms, or pyrocumulonimbus events which have been exacerbating fire activity this week, as rare.

The US agency said satellites have been monitoring the movement of the smoke high in the atmosphere as it swirled east towards South America and beyond.

Hundreds of bushfires have burnt across Australia, killing at least 28 people and destroying more than 2,000 homes.

NASA said: "The formation of pyrocumulus clouds requires fires to burn hot enough to create an updraft of superheated, fast-rising air".

And this smoke then "can travel thousands of miles from its source, affecting atmospheric conditions globally".

The unusual scale of the bushfire had sent smoke soaring into the stratosphere, with some recorded as high as 17.7km (11 miles). Wangaratta on Tuesday morning was the third worst city in the world for air quality, bumping the Melbourne suburb of Doncaster from fifth to sixth place.



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