Brown slush now tops New Zealand’s usually pristine glaciers after “extensive” bushfire smoke travelled across the Tasman Sea.
Icy white glaciers on New Zealand’s South Island have turned a concerning shade of caramel as a result of the bushfires burning in New South Wales and Victoria.
Shocking photographs and videos shared on social media over the past 48 hours show the impact of the drifting smoke on some of the country’s magnificent and usually pristine attractions.
“We can actually smell the burning here in Christchurch,” a user by the name of Miss Roho said on Twitter overnight.
She shared a video of the thick smoke up on the Tasman Glacier in Mount Cook National Park, 200 kilometres west of the South Island city.
This the view from the top of the Tasman Glacier NZ today – whole South island experiencing bushfire clouds. We can actually smell the
Another woman, Rachel, posted photos of the “caramelised snow” near the iconic Franz Josef Glacier on January 1.
“It was white yesterday,” she wrote.
In satellite notes issued on Thursday morning, the Bureau of Meteorology said “extensive smoke haze” has been seen across eastern NSW and Victoria “and extends both northwards to Queensland and also extends from the north Central Coast of NSW across the Tasman Sea”.
The stream of haze is associated with a surface trough and cold front, the Bureau said.
It’s not the first time Australia’s weather has left its mark on the glaciers in recent weeks.
In a blog post on her Young Adventuress website, Liz Carlson described the surreal sight of glaciers in the Mount Aspiring National Park in New Zealand’s Southern Alps coated “in a layer of red” dust.
“It’s not uncommon to have this occur during periods of severe drought in eastern Australia,” University of Queensland geographer Hamish McGowan told the ABC.
This time, the skies above New Zealand have turned shades of yellow, orange, grey and brown.
The impact has been widespread and felt in Dunedin, Oamaru and Kurow on the South Island, and Wellington and Auckland on the North Island.
Kiwi actor and comedian Jemaine Clement, of Flight of the Conchords fame, said on Twitter the Australian bushfire smoke in the country’s atmosphere had given them a “strange sun”.
All the way over in NZ the Australian bushfire smoke in the atmosphere giving us this strange sun.
The main plume lies over the North Island for Thursday. A secondary weaker plume is covering a few parts of the South Island.
“Crazy down here, the camera does not do it justice,” dairy farmer Bruce Eade captioned his video of the thick smoke over the south of New Zealand.
Reid Parker, sharing a photo of the smoke above Dunedin on New Year’s Day, said: “If it’s like this when there’s an ocean between us, the reality in Aus must be terrifying”.