Australian Open qualifying was disrupted for a second successive day due to poor air quality on Wednesday as smoke from bushfires continued to blanket Melbourne in an acrid haze. Organizers of the year's first Grand Slam said practice had been suspended at Melbourne Park until 11am and qualifiers would not get under way until 1pm.
The vast clouds of smoke from Australia's historic bush fires are expected to circle the Earth and return to the country, Nasa says. The US agency said satellites have been monitoring the movement of the smoke high in the atmosphere as it swirled east towards South America and beyond.
Smoke from bushfires raging across Australia reached Brazil on Tuesday, an arm of the National Institute for Space Research said on Twitter. Referring to satellite images, the agency's Department of Remote Sensing said the smoke had arrived in Brazil's southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul.
The cloud of smoke caused by raging bushfires in Australia has been spotted more than 12,000km away in Chile and Argentina, weather authorities in the South American countries said on Monday. Meteorologists in Uruguay expect the cloud in the next 24 hours.
Thousands of firefighters were fortifying containment lines on Monday as temperatures were forecast to soar, increasing the danger of a fresh wave of bushfires across Australia's east coast. More than 100 fires remain ablaze in the region, and authorities warned conditions would worsen on Tuesday, when temperatures were predicted to top 40 degrees Celsius.
The fire danger was elevated across wider swathes of southern Australia on Thursday, with residents warned to avoid at-risk areas as smoke from bushfires choked Sydney and other major cities. Devastating fires along the country's east coast have claimed six lives and destroyed more than 500 homes since mid-October, with climate change and unseasonably hot, dry conditions fuelling the unprecedented blazes.
Brazil's Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year, according to new data from the country's space research agency. The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) said its satellite data showed an 83% increase on the same period in 2018.
Norway's newly appointed health minister has caused controversy by saying people should be allowed to eat, smoke and drink as much as they want. Sylvi Listhaug also said smokers were made to feel like pariahs.