Ferocious bushfires have been sweeping across Australia since September, fueled by record-breaking temperatures, drought and wind. The country has always experienced fires, but this season has been horrific. A staggering 10 million hectares of land have been burned, at least 24 people have been killed and it has been reported that almost half a billion animals have perished. The fires have not only decimated the land, but they have also had a serious effect on air quality.
The Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor mission is dedicated to monitoring air pollution by measuring a multitude of trace gases as well as aerosols — all of which affect the air we breathe. This animation shows the immense spread of aerosols from bushfires in southeast Australia between December 28, 2019 and January 8, 2020. These plumes of particles have swept over New Zealand and crossed the South Pacific Ocean, even reaching Chile and Argentina.
Credit: ESA; contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019–20), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO