At the end of winter, South America experienced massive heat waves. There were moments when the temperature approached 40 degrees Celsius. Scientists from the World Weather Attribution group looked at the extreme heat.
In recent weeks, it has been repeatedly reported that in large areas of Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina, the temperature approached 40 degrees Celsius. This is unusually high for the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
Using statistical analysis of historical trends, field data and computer models, World Weather Attribution researchers found that August and September temperatures in these countries were as much as 1.4-4.3 degrees higher than average. According to WWA researchers, this was caused by global warming caused by human decisions and behavior. The El Nino weather pattern also contributed to the increase in temperature, but it had a much smaller impact than the main culprit.
The fact that it was extremely hot in the southern hemisphere at the turn of winter and spring had serious consequences. Argentina recorded its hottest start to August in at least 117 years. In Chile, and more specifically in the Andes, this month brought rapid melting of glaciers. In contrast, the Amazon rainforest suffered from a much more difficult dry season. In Sao Paulo alone, South America’s largest city, at least four people died due to heatwaves. The death toll will likely change after a thorough analysis of death certificates.
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This will happen more and more often
As Gareth Redmond-King, a British climate expert who was not involved in the study, noted, the fact that such extreme winter temperatures occur in South America is “truly striking.”
The authors of the study warned that if the average global temperature exceeds pre-industrial values by two degrees Celsius, similar heat waves in the region will occur every five to six years.
– Every year we experience more and more dangerous hot days. If we don’t take ambitious action to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the spring heat will become even more intense, impacting more vulnerable people and disrupting the ecosystems needed to regulate our climate, concluded Izidine Pinto, a researcher at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.
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