Climate change is the main factor behind the recent extreme heat that has hit South America, not an El Niño event as previously thought.
This is reported in a study conducted by 12 scientists from universities and meteorological centers in Brazil, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The researchers are part of an international collaboration analyzing the potential impacts of extreme weather events.
The scientists analyzed the data and model simulations to compare them with the current climate and found that episodes of such extreme heat in South America outside of the summer months are highly unlikely without human-caused climate change, the professor at the Institute of Earth Sciences explained. Renata Liponati of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro is one of the authors of the study.
In an interview for the show Brazil magazinefrom National RadioAnother author of the study, researcher Dejacinto Santos from the UFRJ Institute of Geosciences, explained that since Brazil is a tropical country, many areas with high incidence of solar radiation are more susceptible to this temperature increase. The result is so-called urban heat islands, which are areas that accumulate a lot of heat, due to construction and lots of concrete.
He warned that it is urgent to think about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and illegal deforestation in the country and planning to face new heat waves.
Renata Libonati reinforces that climate change is making extreme weather events more frequent.
Large areas of South America were hit by unusually hot weather in August and September, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees during the first days of spring. The lingering heat followed several countries recording their warmest winters ever.
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