Australia wildfire smoke will make 'full circuit' around world, NASA says

Australia wildfire smoke will make 'full circuit' around world, NASA says
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Smoke from the bushfires ravaging Australia will encircle the globe, NASA said Tuesday.

"The smoke is expected to make at least one full circuit around the globe, returning once again to the skies over Australia," Colin Seftor and Rob Gutro of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center wrote. The smoke had traveled halfway around the planet, reaching South America, as of Jan. 8, according to NASA.

The size of the fires and the historic dryness that contributed to them have led to other phenomena such as pyrocumulonimbus events, or fire-induced thunderstorms, which occur when rising clouds of smoke and ash cool, creating thunderstormlike conditions but with no rain, according to CBS.

“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,” Seftor said in a statement.

“The aerosol index values produced by some of the Australian pyroCb events have rivaled that largest values ever recorded,” he added.

The fires are believed to have killed around 1 billion animals and at least 25 people, according to estimates.