Exceptional winter heat in the Andean mountains of South America has surged to 37C, prompting local scientists to warn the worst may be yet to come as human-caused climate disruption and El Niño cause havoc across the region.
The heatwave in the central Chilean Andes is melting the snow below 3,000 metres (9,840ft), which will have knock-on effects for people living in downstream valleys who depend on meltwater during the spring and summer.
Tuesday was probably the warmest winter day in northern Chile in 72 years, according to Raul Cordero, a climate scientist at the University of Groningen, who said the 37C recorded at the Vicuña Los Pimientos station in the Coquimbo region was caused by a combination of global heating, El Niño and easterly gusts, known by locals as Terral winds that bring hot, dry weather.
Dozens of meteorological monitoring stations at more than 1,000 metres altitude recorded temperatures above 35C in winter, according to the Extreme Temperatures Around The World blog. [Continue reading…]