Scorching hot days in the southern hemisphere
Summer south of the equator is proving scorching. In mid-January 2022, sweltering heat gripped central South America, with temperatures soaring to over 40°C. At that time, it was the hottest place on the planet. That title soon passed to Western Australia, where temperatures soared to over 50°C and a city north of Perth tied for the hottest temperature ever measured in the southern hemisphere (preliminary data).
The searing heat is evident in these maps, derived from the model Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS). The maps show the air temperature at 2 meters above the ground. The darkest reds indicate where temperatures were highest on January 11 in Argentina (top) and January 13 in Australia (bottom).
According to him National Meteorological Service (SMN) of Argentina, ground stations in Buenos Aires recorded a temperature of 41.1 °C on January 11. That is the second hottest day on record in the city. Elsewhere in Argentina, temperatures in Córdoba and Punta Indio exceeded 41°C. The extreme heat spread west towards the Andes Mountains, as well as north towards Paraguay and Uruguay..
The heat took its toll on Argentina’s power grid, leaving more than 700,000 customers without power. High temperatures were also expected to burn crops such as soybeans and corn, which have already suffered from prolonged drought.
The heat has continued in the following days breaking records in different parts of the country.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, a heat wave was sweeping across Western Australia. On January 13, ground stations at Onslow showed a temperature spike of 50.7°C.
If confirmed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the temperature will be equal to the hottest day on record in the southern hemisphere. The previous record was measured in Oodnadatta, South Australia, in 1960. Near Onslow, the towns of Mardie and Roebourne also experienced temperatures above 50°C.
According The Washington Post , the events in Argentina and Western Australia were the result of heat domes that settled over each area. The phenomenon occurs when high pressure in the middle and upper atmosphere acts as a boundary, trapping warm air as it rises and pushing it down to further heat the surface.
Images of NASA Earth Observatory by Lauren Dauphin, using GEOS-5 data from the NASA GSFC Office of Global Modeling and Assimilation. Text by Kathryn Hansen.
NASA Earth Observatory