Winter heatwave in Andes is sign of things to come, scientists warn | Climate crisis

Distinctive winter warmth within the Andean mountains of South America has surged to 37C, prompting native scientists to warn the worst could also be but to come back as human-caused local weather disruption and El Niño trigger havoc throughout the area.

The heatwave within the central Chilean Andes is melting the snow beneath 3,000 metres (9,840ft), which can have knock-on results for folks dwelling in downstream valleys who rely upon meltwater through the spring and summer time.

Tuesday was in all probability the warmest winter day in northern Chile in 72 years, in keeping with Raul Cordero, a local weather scientist on the College of Groningen, who stated the 37C recorded on the Vicuña Los Pimientos station within the Coquimbo area was attributable to a mix of world heating, El Niño and easterly gusts, recognized by locals as Terral winds that convey scorching, dry climate.

Dozens of meteorological monitoring stations at greater than 1,000 metres altitude recorded temperatures above 35C in winter, in keeping with the Excessive Temperatures Round The World weblog.

South America resides one of many excessive occasions the world has ever seen
Unbelievable temperatures as much as 38.9C within the Chilean Andine areas in mid winter ! Way more than what Southern Europe simply had in mid summer time on the similar elevation: This occasion is rewriting all climatic books

— Excessive Temperatures Round The World (@extremetemps) August 1, 2023

Cordero stated the bizarre warmth at this altitude was a fear. “The main problem is how the high temperatures exacerbate droughts (in eastern Argentina and Uruguay and accelerate snow melting.”

Water shortages are already a dire downside in and round Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, the place reservoirs are working dry and faucet water is now not drinkable.

South America has suffered one of many warmest January-to-July durations on report. Chile has been among the many worst affected international locations with fires at the start of the 12 months and now prolonged droughts. Cordero stated Santiago was sweltering in its ninth heatwave since January and was anticipated to interrupt the annual report of 10 heatwaves, set in 2020.

Marcos Andrade, the director of atmospheric physics on the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in La Paz, stated the Andean plateau in Bolivia and Peru had additionally skilled “unusual” climate because the begin of the 12 months.

“At Puno, on the other side of Titicaca Lake, they had their driest January since records began 59 years ago. In May, we had a storm with 20% of the usual annual rainfall,” he stated. “The winter has also been unusually warm. We broke temperature records in some parts of the country.”

He expressed concern that worse might observe because the southern hemisphere approaches its summer time. “El Niño usually peaks at the end of the year. I don’t think we have seen the full effects yet.”

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Warmth data have been damaged in a number of cities in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Karla Beltrán, an environmental guide, stated that this 12 months Buenos Aires had additionally recorded its highest ever temperature of 38.6C on 11 March, whereas town of Mercedes in Uruguay hit a brand new peak of 40.5C.

She stated the heatwave was consistent with the newest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change, which famous that the southern a part of South America was notably weak to episodes of excessive temperatures. Research have proven that northern South America, together with the Amazon area and the Pacific coast as much as the Atacama desert, will expertise extra frequent and intense heatwaves. “With the arrival of the El Niño phenomenon, it is expected that in the coming years this region will suffer an increase in the already high temperatures, making it necessary to take adaptation measures to avoid deaths and greater disasters,” she stated.

Chico Geleira, a professor of climatology and oceanography on the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and deputy director of Brazil’s Polar and Climatic Middle, stated the traits had been regarding. “Without a doubt, the maximum temperature records in winter in Chile and, to a certain extent, in South America are atypical,” he stated.

“High pressure systems are more intense and persistent anomalies in the southern hemisphere, inducing hot air advection and/or directly generating temperature extremes. This high pressure will tend to remain and intensify in the coming decades with climate change.”

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