The heat wave that’s been broiling the Northern Hemisphere this summer has now descended south of the equator, where temperatures surpassed 100 degrees Fahrenheit earlier this week in parts of Chile — even though it’s the middle of the winter there.
Some areas reached the highest temperatures ever recorded in 20 or 30 years — not just for winter, but for any time of year, astonishing scientists.
“South America is living one of the extreme events the world has ever seen, climatologist Maximiliano Herrera tweeted. “This event is rewriting all climatic books.”
In July, a host of South American countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay broke new heat records for the winter months, according to the Washington Post. The scorching temperatures were recorded even at high elevations along the Andes.
On Tuesday, some parts of Chile were 40 to 45 degrees warmer than the typical average for that date. At the start of the month, meanwhile, Buenos Aires, Argentina reached 86.2 degrees Fahrenheit — up 9 degrees from the previous daily record.
A heat dome — a column of high pressure that pushes out clouds and cooler air, letting in only the sun — is driving the unusual temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere, whose August is the equivalent of February in the Northern Hemisphere.
A surge of oppressive heat centered in the southern U.S., meanwhile, is now entering its third month.
Hurricanes, tornados, and floods often receive the bulk of media coverage, but the National Weather Service records heat as the top cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S. over the past 30 years.
In June, a U.S. representative from Arizona petitioned the government to list extreme heat surges as natural disasters so that they can be eligible for FEMA relief, which could include funding for cooling centers and pop-up shelters.
Source : The Messenger