Monday, January 27, 2020
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Weather extremes envelop the Earth

In this age of weather extremes, temps in Chicago will come close to the lowest temperature ever recorded in the city, and the temperature in Fargo, North Dakota, is not expected to break above –18°F (–28°C) today, as record-breaking cold strikes the US, the New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, in Australia, record-breaking drought and wildfires strike the Southern Hemisphere. Some of the worst wildfires ever experienced are happening right now, following a record-breaking year for wildfires in California, and temps are regularly higher than 105–110°F. The drought is so severe in New South Wales that the average kindergartner has not seen rain in her lifetime.

Deaths and serious illness from heat-related causes are expected to increase in the coming decades, as the Earth’s level of atmospheric carbon dioxide climbs ever higher, exceeding any values known for the last 800,000 years.

“When something happens—whether it’s a cold snap, a wildfire, a hurricane, any of those things—we need to think beyond what we have seen in the past and assume there’s a high probability that it will be worse than anything we’ve ever seen,” The Times quoted Crystal A Kolden, an associate professor at the University of Idaho, as saying. She specializes in wildfires and is currently working in Tasmania during one of the state’s worst fire seasons.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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