Extreme weather is already breaking records around the world in 2019
By Nina Golgowski
In just a few weeks’ time, extreme temperatures have smashed records around the world this year, with parts of the Midwestern U.S. seeing the mercury drop as low as minus 38 degrees Fahrenheit as Australia endures triple-digit high temperatures, reigniting concerns about a changing planet.
At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, temperatures dipped to minus 23 degrees on Wednesday morning, breaking that day’s previous record low of minus 15, set in 1966. The lowest wind chill recorded Wednesday in Chicago was 52 degrees below zero, according to the National Weather Service.
The arctic blast has canceled hundreds of flights, closed major Chicago attractions and schools, and triggered states of emergencies by governors in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. The U.S. Postal Service also suspended mail service on Wednesday for parts or all of several Midwestern states, including North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.
As cold as it is in parts of the U.S., in the southern hemisphere, extremely high temperatures and drought are breaking records in Australia, which recently experienced its hottest December on record.
Temperatures in South Australia’s capital of Adelaide hit nearly 116 degrees Fahrenheit last week, breaking an 80-year-old record high set in January 1939, according to the Bureau of Meteorology in South Australia. On Wednesday, Adelaide nearly topped 101 degrees.
“In a warming world, you’re still going to have unusually hot and unusually cold events happening in a particular part of the world,” Berkeley Earth climate scientist Zeke Hausfather also told the AP. “Weather is not going away.”