NASA satellite images show the thick pall of smoke from Australia’s firestorms, which reached South America last week, has blown entirely around the Southern Hemisphere, approaching Australia from the west.
Besides choking most of southeastern Australia, the smoke has also created an air pollution crisis downwind in New Zealand and darkened that country’s glaciers after falling on them as soot.
Meanwhile, days of rain are bringing some much-needed relief to Australia’s firefighters, but it won’t be enough to fully alleviate the threat of more than 140 fires that were still burning.
At least 80% of the Blue Mountains world heritage area and more than 50% of the Gondwana world heritage rainforests have burned in Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis.
The scale of the disaster is such that it could affect the diversity of eucalypts for which the Blue Mountains world heritage area is recognised.