New Zealand is a country of great contrasts, full of nature and wildlife. However, one of its typical winter prints has changed color because of the fires that ravaging Australia and have already caused a dozen deaths: the air has transported the ashes and dust to the New Zealand glaciers, staining the snow brown white.
It is one of the consequences of the wave of fires that devastates the country of kangaroos and has already burned more than two million hectares, killing more than a dozen people. In addition, the latest studies estimate almost 500 million the number of animals that have died due to the fires.
Although the distance between the two countries is more than 1,500 kilometers, the ashes have flown from Australia to the South Island of New Zealand, causing an image never seen before. And experts believe that this episode can cause the thaw, already accelerated due to climate change, to go even faster.
The threat of thaw
Professor Andrew Mackintosh, former director of the Antarctic Research Center, explained to The Guardian that “I have never seen this amount of ash before, I am worried to see it deposited in the glaciers”, The worst thing is that he believes that this event can cause the melting of glaciers to grow between 20 and 30 per cent, a huge amount considering that it has already been affected by climate change.
Helen Clark, a former New Zealand minister, wrote on her Twitter account the same concerns: “The impact of ash on glaciers is likely to accelerate the thaw. This is how the tragedy of a country has indirect effects“. Although the authorities have not decreed any type of health alert, they have warned people suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems to remain covered as long as possible.
The good news is that he believes that the effect will not last beyond a year, although if the wave of fires is repeated soon in Australia, it will affect its neighbouring country again. The bad news is that there are about 3,000 glaciers in New Zealand that have already lost a third of their thickness in the last 50 years and if so, will disappear completely before the end of this century.