Australia’s Wildfires Are Turning New Zealand’s Glaciers Pink
Australia’s dangerous and deadly wildfires have been raging by the hundreds for weeks, getting so bad, they started to turn the glaciers in New Zealand a pink color.
The colorful phenomenon, captured late last month by photographer and blogger Liz Carlson, showed what happened after smoke from the bushfires blew over to neighboring New Zealand, discoloring the snow on the country’s South Island.
As recently as this weekend, officials decided a wildfire burning about 37 miles from Sydney was “too big to put out,” Newsweek reported, and would have to wait for a good rain to be extinguished.
For her part, Carlson shot the eerie images of pink-tinged snow while on a helicopter flight around Mount Aspiring National Park on Nov. 28, CNN reported.
“After we flew deep into the park around the Kitchener Glacier, I could really see how red it was, and it was shocking, I've never seen anything like it before," Carlson told CNN. “Often at the end of summer the glaciers can appear dirty, even gray with all of the snowmelt and bits of black rock on them, but this was the height of spring so it was really bizarre. The ice was coated in a way that gave it a pinkish-red tinge.”
CNN meteorologist Monica Garrett has said the phenomenon is caused when heavier particles from smoke fall down. It’s a safe assumption that it came from bushfires in Australia with satellite images showing smoke crossed from New South Wales over the Tasman Sea and the North Island of New Zealand.
"It's not uncommon to have this occur during periods of severe drought in eastern Australia," University of Queensland geographer Hamish McGowan told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
After capturing the images, Carlson posted them on her blog, Young Adventuress, writing that a helicopter flight really puts the expansive scenery into perspective.
“I want everyone to be able to experience the joy and euphoria that comes from these wild spaces. I want to preserve our glaciers for generations to come,” she wrote. “It breaks my heart to see the devastation both directly in Australia but also high on our precious mountains here in New Zealand.”