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South America Is Experiencing an Alarming Winter Heatwave

It’s winter in South America right now, but you wouldn’t know it from the thermometers. Climatologists are raising the alarm about an out-of-character heatwave currently gripping the country, bringing countries like Argentina, Chile, and Brazil up to nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit during what are supposed to be their chilliest months. 

Chile’s meteorological agency, Dirección Meteorológica de Chile, tweeted on Aug. 1 that temperatures in the Coquimbo region had hit anywhere from 30 to 33 degrees Celsius (86 to 9.14 degrees Fahrenheit). As a coastal region, Coquimbo typically hovers around 8.8C (48F) to 16.6C (62F) in August. Vicuna, a mountain town 75 kilometers inland, meanwhile topped 37 C (98.6F) when it’s normally closer to 17C (62.6F) this time of year. 

Brazil hovered around 35C to 38C on Aug. 1 and 2, according to the Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia. Argentina’s temperatures have been just as concerning, with the capital reaching 30C (86F). Rivadavia, a town in the northern Salta province, meanwhile touched a whopping 37.2C (98.9F) on Aug. 1. 

South America’s winters have always been a bit warmer, hovering around 15C to 25C (59F to 77F) due in part to the continent’s proximity to the equator. But this is something else entirely. “Chile’s winter is disappearing,” climatologist Raúl Cordero told the Chilean news outlet La Tercera. “It’s not surprising that temperature records are being set all over the world. Climate change ensures these records are broken more and more frequently.”

The heatwave is indeed thought to be the product of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change and El Niño, a climate pattern associated with warmer-than-usual waters in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean. While most people think of El Niño as the phenomenon behind tropical rainstorms, it also disrupts trade winds, jet streams, and other atmospheric defaults to make South America, Central America, and even the United States warmer than usual. This only exacerbates the warming effects of climate change.

Maximiliano Herrera, a climatologist known for tracking extreme heat around the globe, shared Thursday that North Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and some parts of Brazil will experience their hottest temperatures early this month. “This heat is unprecedented,” he wrote. “Numbers speak for themselves. And it will get worse.”

Source : Etreme Tech