Smoke from the raging bushfires in Australia, considered to be the worst of the past century having destroyed some 15 million acres, has reached Chile after travelling more than 11,000 km over the Pacific Ocean.
A meteorological trough – a barometric depression that penetrates between two zones of high atmospheric pressure – is suspected to have been the conduit through which the smoke crossed the Pacific to the South American continent.
Meteorologist Edita Amador told Efe news on Monday that the smoke was especially visible in central Chile, where mist has covered the sky that under normal circumstances would be cloudless, and it was “possible” for it to remain in the area until Tuesday.
“In the coming days probably it will head toward Argentina,” said Amador.
The presence of smoke should not cause any serious effects in the South American nation, since it rarely rains in that area.
The only consequence so far, Amador said, is a reduction in the ultraviolet radiation reaching the ground because of the “cap” that these kind of clouds form over the land.
Light rain in areas affected by bushfires in southeast Australia on Monday gave firefighters and affected communities some respite before temperatures were expected to return to around 40 degrees Celsius at the end of this week.
The fires, considered among the worst of the century in Australia, have caused 25 deaths and destroyed more than 1,500 homes since September and have burned almost six million hectares of land, equivalent to twice the area of Belgium.