Glaciers in New Zealand have turned a pink-orange hue due to dust and ash in Australia. Picture: Liz Carlson
Glaciers in New Zealand have turned a pink-orange hue due to dust and ash in Australia. Picture: Liz Carlson

Aussie bushfires turn NZ glaciers pink

THE bushfire smoke haze plaguing Sydney has tuned the sky an eerie shade of yellow and the sun a menacing hue of red.

But its effects are being felt far outside New South Wales.

Plumes of the smoke have stretched all the way across the Tasman Sea and have turned New Zealand's famous glaciers pink.

Satellite imagery has shown ash and smoke particles have travelled 2000km, wafting through cities such as Auckland and Wellington.

Many of those particles have also landed throughout Mt Aspiring National Park on the west coast of the South Island close to Wanaka.

The usually pristine New Zealand glaciers. Picture: Alamy
The usually pristine New Zealand glaciers. Picture: Alamy

In a blog post on her Young Adventuress website, Liz Carlson described the surreal site of seeing the glaciers turn a dusty pink due to the descending Australian ash and dust.

She said the skies around Wanaka first turned the drab yellow shade, by now quite familiar to Sydney siders, but then cleared a couple of days later.

Ms Carlson took a helicopter ride towards Mt Aspiring and was puzzled by what she saw.

"As we got closer and closer towards the first of the mighty glaciers, I pulled my sunglasses off to wipe them. Did I see things or did the snow look, well, a bit red?

"From far away, the glaciers looked almost dirty, a sooty look they often get at the end of a hot summer as the ice melts and rock tumbles down onto the ice in certain places. But it was springtime," she wrote.

NZ glaciers are changing colour from Australian bushfire ash. Picture: Liz Carlson
NZ glaciers are changing colour from Australian bushfire ash. Picture: Liz Carlson

"The recent westerlies have brought a red haze and smoke across the (ditch) here to New Zealand.

"As the dust settled across the South Island, it coated our glaciers in a layer of red too."

Meteorologists have said the distinctive colour was likely also due to red dust and earth being picked up from inland areas of Australia and then carried along with the smoke.

 

 

Ms Carlson said the site of New Zealand's normally pristine glaciers flecked with a powdery pink coating was "crazy".

With no signs of rain to dampen the bushfires west of Sydney, and no change to the westerly winds to take the smoke elsewhere, there's every chance New Zealand could continue to feel the effects of Australia's scorching summer.

Satellite images have shown the plumes from NSW joining together in one vast haze in the Tasman before enveloping New Zealand.

It has led to several weeks of stunning sunsets across the country as smoke and dust diffuses the last rays of the sun.

"While I'm no scientist, I wonder if this layer of red will exist in the ice to tell the story of the bushfires in a thousand years?" wrote Ms Carlson.

"The same way we could see the ash layers from ancient volcanic eruptions around the world now."

Not anymore. NZ’s glaciers have tuned pink thanks to Australia. Picture: Liz Carlson
Not anymore. NZ’s glaciers have tuned pink thanks to Australia. Picture: Liz Carlson
Smoke, ash and Australian red dirt has landed on the snow over the last few days Picture: Liz Carlson
Smoke, ash and Australian red dirt has landed on the snow over the last few days Picture: Liz Carlson

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