Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Baked Australia Begins to Burn

ImaGeo iconImaGeoBy Tom YulsmanOctober 17, 2013 7:45 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Smoke plumes from raging wildfires in New South Wales, Australia, as captured by NASA's Aqua satellite on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. Each red dot represents a location where a fire was detected by Aqua. Sydney is located on the coast under the thickest plume. (Image: NASA) As of the end of September, Australia had experienced its hottest 12-month period on record. And last month itself "was easily Australia's warmest September on record," according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Given that, the wildfires now raging across New South Wales should probably come as no surprise. There are more than a hundred of them, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. And they have likely destroyed hundreds of homes. The image above, from NASA's Aqua satellite and centered over the Australia's Blue Mountains, shows smoke plumes streaming to the east. Each red dot is an area where a sensor on the satellite detected a fire; each one represents an area about a quarter of an acre in size. Sydney is on the coast and is obscured under the thickest plume. Here's a photo by Davina Andersson of what the smoke looked like over the city on Thursday:


A thick shroud of smoke from wildfires to the west envelopes Sydney on Thursday. (Photo: Courtesy Davina Andersson) I'll have more to say about the climatic context of these fires in a subsequent post. So please look for that. 

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In