New Zealand Glacier Melt Increases by 30% As Australia’s Tragedy Crosses Overseas

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Carbon black glaciers and fire lit skies… The effects of recent Australian bushfires disrupt the ecosystem on more than a local scale. As animals and habitats were directly hit, smoke is the residue that leaves a lasting effect after chaos settles. Expert recently claimed the Australian fires increase New Zealand glacier melt by 30% as smoke lingers and browns ice structures.

Smoke from the Australian bushfire season blew over 1,300 miles across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand. While current climate changes are warming glaciers at a steady rate, the white glaciers reflect the sun’s heat and slow down melting rates. This serves as a buffer. However, as smoke continues to cover glaciers, the browning effect does the opposite and absorbs the sun’s heat. Melting continues to accelerate. Larger glaciers receive snowfall, thus covering the brown. However, the smaller glaciers don’t expect snowfall until March making it difficult to sustain themselves against the smoke’s effects.

Photo by Rachel Hatesit

Statistics calculate up to 18 human lives lost, over 1,000 homes have been destroyed, millions of livestock lost, and over 15 million acres of land has burned. The numbers represent one of the most severe fire seasons. Otherworldly skyscapes blanket over as the atmosphere adjusts. Air quality has been at unhealthy levels and can be checked on the world’s real-time air quality index 

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, 2019 was both the hottest and driest year ever measured in Australia.

The succession of these fires shows how natural disasters intermix with human-caused climate change and amplify devastating effects. Clearly, the fire-induced smoke leaves a lasting mark on the glaciers in New Zealand. Furthermore, as melting rates increase the domino effect historically causes ocean levels and disrupts coastlines. 


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