Last week, Australia’s bushfires created a 7,000-mile plume that crossed the Pacific, according to Earther.
The smoke trail is estimated to cover approximately 23 million square miles, blocking out the sun in some areas and creating unhealthy breathing environments for animals and humans.
Now, researchers have discovered indicators of the smoke in nearly every ocean basin across the globe and worry it could cross into the northern hemisphere.
Currently, the bushfires – the worst on record for Australia – have created a significant loss of life and property for the country. At least 27 human lives have been lost, the Associated Press reports. An estimated 1 billion animals are also dead, including more than 33,000 koalas, according to The Australian.
Climate change is believed to be a driving factor in the fires following Australia’s driest- and hottest-ever year. The fires began in August and have burned more than 26,000,000 acres. According to Insider, the bushfires are 46% larger than the 2019 Amazon forest fires and show little sign of stopping.
As of January 8, the fires had released more than 350 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is roughly equivalent to 1% of global carbon emissions from 2019.