Ferocious bushfires have been sweeping across Australia since September, fuelled 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 28 December 2019 and 8 January 2020. These plumes of particles have swept over New Zealand and crossed the South Pacific Ocean, even reaching Chile and Argentina.