Extreme Temperature Diary- Tuesday October 13th, 2020/ Main Topic: South America Continues To Bake And Burn

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: South America Continues To Bake And Burn

Dear Diary. I keep getting reports from record specialist Maximiliano Herrera of record heat from various countries around South America this fall, which is their spring. I’ve already let my readers know that a historic heatwave is in progress across a large swath of the continent:

Checking on conditions across the continent today, we see mostly above average 500 millibar heights:

Lower in the atmosphere, two meter temperatures are toasty, as well:

Looking at 500 millibar forecasts, the heat dome over South America will not be relenting into next week:

As I’ve stated fairly often on this blog, the climate item that most concerns me across the globe is the destruction of the Amazon, mainly due to land clearing and fire. The “lungs of the Earth” are caught in a vicious cycle of record heat, fire, and more record heat. It will take large-scale international efforts to preserve the Amazon, as well as other remaining rainforests and large mid-latitude forests around the planet. Of course, the best prescription to keep forests, which convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, safe is to not burn any more fossil fuels. Doing so will only exacerbate heatwaves, which dry forests, which lead to destructive fires.

Here is a report on the current fire situation in South America:


Brazil’s Amazon rainforest suffers worst fires in a decade

  • Satellites record 61% rise in hotspots over September 2019
  • Scientist warns: ‘It could get worse if the drought continues
Smoke and flames rise from an illegally lit fire in an Amazon rainforest reserve, south of Novo Progresso in Para State, Brazil, in August.

Smoke and flames rise from an illegally lit fire in an Amazon rainforest reserve, south of Novo Progresso in Para State, Brazil, in August. Photograph: Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images

Fires in Brazil’s Amazon increased 13% in the first nine months of the year compared with a year ago, as the rainforest region experiences its worst rash of blazes in a decade, data from space research agency Inpe has shown.

Satellites in September recorded 32,017 hotspots in the world’s largest rainforest, a 61% rise from the same month in 2019.

In August last year, surging fires in the Amazon captured global headlines and prompted criticism from world leaders such as France’s Emmanuel Macron that Brazil was not doing enough to protect the rainforest.

On Tuesday, the US Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, called for a world effort to offer $20bn to end Amazon deforestation and threatened Brazil with unspecified “economic consequences” if it did not “stop tearing down the forest”.

President Jair Bolsonaro lambasted Biden’s comment as a “cowardly threat” to Brazil’s sovereignty and a “clear sign of contempt”.

Data from Inpe released on Thursday showed that in 2019, fires spiked in August and declined considerably the month after, but this year’s peak has been more sustained. Both August and September of 2020 have matched or surpassed last year’s single-month high.

“We have had two months with a lot of fire. It’s already worse than last year,” said Ane Alencar, science director for Brazil’s Amazon Environmental Research Institute (Ipam).

“It could get worse if the drought continues. We are at the mercy of the rain.”

The Amazon is experiencing a more severe dry season than last year, which scientists attribute in part to warming in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean pulling moisture away from South America.

The entire Amazon, which spans nine countries, currently has 28,892 active fires, according to a fire monitoring tool funded in part by the US space agency, Nasa.

The fires in September are not only burning recently deforested areas and farmland, where ranchers set them to clear land, but are also increasingly burning virgin forest, a worrying trend that suggests the rainforest is becoming drier and more prone to fire.

Roughly 62% of major Amazon fires were in forests in September, compared with only 15% in August, according to an analysis of satellite images by the US-based non-profit Amazon Conservation.

For more information click on:

Brazilian wetlands fires started by humans and worsened by drought

The warming of the North Atlantic is also helping drive drought in the Brazilian Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland, which has suffered more fires this year than ever previously recorded, according to Inpe data.

A Federal University of Rio de Janeiro analysis found that 23% of the wetlands, which are home to the densest population of jaguars in the world, has burned.

“Brazil is on fire,” said Cristiane Mazzetti, a forest campaigner for advocacy group Greenpeace Brasil, in a statement.

Here are more “ET” reports from Maximiliano Herrera:

Here is more climate and weather news from Tuesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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