Extreme Temperature Diary- Sunday February 12th, 2023/Main Topic: Chilean Wildfires are Among the Deadliest in That Country’s History

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track global 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: Chilean Wildfires are Among the Deadliest in That Country’s History

Dear Diary. When I started this blog in 2017, I began to state that people all over the planet would begin to dread summer of because awful heat waves leading to wildfires, not to mention that more powerful hurricanes or cyclones, as they are called in the Southern Hemisphere, would become more commonplace. Oh that I wish my little prediction had not come true. Cyclone Gabrielle is closing in on northeastern New Zealand, and Aukland in particular, on this Sunday, for example, this year. Southern South America recently went through another devastating heat wave, which has led to one of the deadliest wildfires in Chile’s history, which we will concentrate on today.

And more extreme heat wave has commenced across the region…

With an El Niño looming, the world is poised to ramp up toward record high global averages never seen before in human history going into the middle part of the 2020s, which will lead to heat waves even worse than those experienced by Europe and China in 2022. Perhaps this climate crisis weather will finally spur the world’s countries to get absolutely serious about correcting our fossil fuel problem.

Here is more on Chile’s recent fires from the New Scientist:

Chile wildfires 2023: Extreme weather among the deadliest in country’s record | New Scientist

Wildfires burning in Chile are among the deadliest in country’s record

Fires in central and southern Chile, exacerbated by extreme temperatures and megadrought, have led to at least 26 deaths and burned more than 2700 square kilometres


7 February 2023

By James Dinneen

Residents work to extinguish a wildfire in Chile

REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo/Ailen Diaz

Forest fires burning in central and southern Chile have led to at least 26 deaths and nearly 2000 injuries in what is among the deadliest wildfires on record in the country.

The fires have burned across more than 2700 square kilometres as of 7 February, according to a release from the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. More than 1000 homes have been destroyed and 280 fires were still active as of 6 February, according to Chile’s disaster response agency SENAPRED.

Already, that makes this the country’s second-most destructive fire season on record after 2017, which saw thousands of fires burn more than 5700 square kilometres and led to at least 11 deaths. Most forest fires in Chile burn in January and February at the height of the southern hemisphere’s summer.

More than 6000 Chilean firefighters have participated in battling the blazes. Brigades from Spain, Mexico and Argentina are also helping to fight the fires, along with more than 70 planes and helicopters.

Extreme temperatures and years of drought have contributed to the scale and intensity of the fires.

Chile’s Ñuble and Bío-Bío regions. Visible smoke from forest fires (left) and a temperature map (right)

René Garreaud, NASA

Weather stations in Chile’s Central valley reported record or near record temperatures above 40°C (104°F) over the weekend, says ‪René Garreaud at the University of Chile in Santiago. High temperatures and strong winds are forecast for the coming days. “Meteorology plays against us,” he says.

Garreaud says the extremely high temperatures are driven by warm, naturally recurring “Puelche winds” blowing from the east, superimposed on a warmer climate. The past decade has been the warmest on record in Chile, says Garreaud. Megadrought in the region – the past 10 years were the driest on record in Chile – has also contributed to fires, he says.

The fires have mainly affected the regions of Maule, Ñuble, Bío-Bío and Araucanía, which together contain most of Chile’s forest plantations. Along with heat and drought, the added fuel load from the plantation trees have also increased the area at risk of fire.

Mark Parrington at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Services said the fire’s intensity is reflected by the huge plumes of smoke sent billowing over the Pacific Ocean. The service estimates the fires have so far released 4 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, leading to the highest emissions from some regions in the past 20 years.

More on these topics:

Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:

Here is some more new January 2023 climatology:

Here is more climate and weather news from Sunday:

(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.)

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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