The enormous clouds of smoke resulting from the terrible bushfires in Australia have navigated around the globe, and have circled back to Australia. NASA released an animation that shows the movement of the smoke. The animation showed below enlightens us on how the movement of the smoke actually occurred.
They also released a plain white animation that clearly highlights the smoke using the UV aerosol index. The data was recorded using the satellite data from the OMPS-NM instrument at NASA Goddard.
Colin Seftor, a research scientist at NASA Goddard said, “The UV index has a characteristic that is particularly well suited for identifying and tracking smoke from pyroCb events: the higher the smoke plume, the larger the aerosol index value. Values over 10 are often associated with such events. The aerosol index values produced by some of the Australian pyroCb events have rivaled that largest values ever recorded.”
NASA had expected that the smoke clouds will circle the Earth and return to Australia, and that’s what had happened. The movement of the dangerous smoke was possible due to the thunderstorms (caused by the fire) that allowed the smoke to easily enter the atmosphere. The smoke is considered dangerous because of its origin from wood. It contains the same toxins as city air pollution.
As a result of the disaster, Australia has distributed 3.5 million breathing masks and has air-dropped 4,600 pounds of food/water for animals. Hospital admissions are very high and more than 25.5 million acres of land have been burned down, including more than 2,600 homes.
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