Smoke from Australian Fires Arrives in Rio Grande do Sul

Brazilian state affected by the phenomenon is located at almost the same latitude as Australia

Porto Alegre

Smoke from forest fires affecting Australia and carried more than 12,0000 kilometers by the wind reached Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil on Tuesday (7).

Rio Grande do Sul and Australia are located at about the same height as the globe, between parallels 25 and 30 south of Ecuador, explains Metsul meteorologist Estael Sias, who has been monitoring the phenomenon. Parallels are circles that set geographic coordinates horizontally - and meridians are those that set them vertically.

This handout photo taken on January 6, 2020 and received on January 7 from the Australian Department of Defence shows a fire in the distance seen from the Royal Australian Navy's HMAS Adelaide ship off the coast in Eden in New South Wales, as part of bushfire relief operations. - (Photo by Handout / AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE / AFP) - AFP

Before reaching the southern state, smoke drifted across the Pacific Ocean, part of Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, carried by a wind stream in the direction that moves from west to east of the planet. In these countries, locals noticed the smoke on Monday (6).

“There is a windstream about ten thousand meters high [ten kilometers] that has a speed ranging from 200 to 300 km / h. Pyrocumulus clouds, which form when there is volcanic activity or fire, for example, throw soot into altitude. When soot gets there, the windstream carries the smoke,” explained Sias, a master of meteorology at the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences (IAG) at USP (University of São Paulo).

This wind impacts the aviation industry. When an aircraft is in your favor, it benefits by spending less fuel. When in the opposite direction of the current, the opposite occurs, he said.

Because of the altitude of the smoke over Rio Grande do Sul, there are no environmental and health risks, guarantees the meteorologist. 

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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