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Smoke from Australia wildfires has circled the globe, NASA said

Posted at 3:06 PM, Jan 14, 2020

The powerful wildfires that have burned millions of acres of land are spreading so much smoke into the sky, NASA said that the smoke has circumnavigated the Earth.

NASA said that the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite detected smoke south of Australia that was carried completely around the world.

NASA uses its satellite fleet to detect wildfires, sometimes detecting wildfires in remote areas before officials on the ground.

"NASA satellites can show the movement of the smoke across the globe as evidenced above, but other instruments found onboard can give scientists, firefighters, health experts, local government, and others information about what is happening on the ground in real-time," NASA said.

Tracking the smoke also allows NASA to detect changes in air quality. Aerosols from wildfire smoke, as well as pollution and volcanic ash, can affect human health.

"Aerosols compromise human health when inhaled by people with asthma or other respiratory illnesses," NASA said. "Aerosols also have an affect on the weather and climate by cooling or warming the earth, helping or preventing clouds from forming."