NASA video shows the global spread of Australia’s wildfire smoke

Brittany A. Roston - Jan 26, 2020, 11:11am CST
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NASA video shows the global spread of Australia’s wildfire smoke

NASA’s climate change team has published a new animation showing the global effects of the smoke caused by the recent Australian bushfires. In the video, the space agency uses different colors to show various aerosols and their densities in different parts of the world from August 2019 to January 2020. At this point in time, NASA says some of the smoke has made it as far as the lowest parts of the stratosphere.

The animation features multiple events, according to NASA; in addition to the Australian bushfires, it also features things like Hurricane Dorian and some big fires that happened in Indonesia and South America. The following colors are used in the video to denote different aerosols:

Orange = Dust
Blue = Sea Salt
Pink = Nitrates
Red = Carbonaceous

As well, brighter colors indicate greater quantities of aerosols in those regions.

As shown in the video, the smoke from the Australian wildfires was whipped up by global weather events, spreading it around the world. The smoke has made its way into the upper troposphere, according to NASA, in addition to the lower stratosphere. The space agency says the smoke will travel over the Southern Ocean, eventually circling all the way back to Australia again.

Though it spread all over, this smoke is most prominent in South America stretching out to over the Pacific Ocean. Many regions in Australia have experienced extremely poor air quality as a result of the smoke and its various gases resulting from the bushfires. NASA provides more information like this about the Earth and its climate on its climate change website.


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