So far 2019 has set 35 records for heat and 2 for cold

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    So far 2019 has set 35 records for heat and 2 for cold
    Blue areas show colder-than-average temperatures. Red areas are hotter than average.

    Blue areas show colder-than-average temperatures. Red areas are hotter than average.

    Image from Climate Reanalyzer (https://ClimateReanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA

    By Sam Wong

    North America is in the grip of a polar vortex, bringing freezing weather from North Dakota to Ohio. The cold snap has drawn predictably frosty comments from climate change deniers. But the global picture tells a different story.

    Until 31 January, no weather stations had recorded all-time cold records in 2019 – which is unprecedented at this stage of the year, according to weather records compiler Maximiliano Herrera. On Thursday morning, two all-time record lows were finally broken, at Rockford and Moline in Illinois, where temperatures reached -36.1°C.

    In contrast, 35 stations in the southern hemisphere have recorded all-time highs. Among them were Noona in New South Wales, where the temperature at night remained above 35.9°C on 17 January – the hottest night in Australia’s history. Reunion and Christmas Island also experienced all-time hottest temperatures.

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    The mean temperature for January in Australia exceeded 30°C – the first time this has happened for any month in the country’s history.

    Record high temperatures in 2019

    Kulgera (Australia) max. 47


    Griffith (Australia) max. 46.4


    Albury (Australia) max. 45.3


    Woolbrook (Australia) max. 38.7


    Cooma (Australia) max. 39.5


    Cootamundra (Australia) max. 43.6


    Eucla (Australia) max. 48.6


    Christmas Island Aero (Australia) max. 31.6


    Tarcoola (Australia) max. 49.1


    Ceduna (Australia) max. 48.6


    Cleve (Australia) max. 46.7


    Adelaide (Australia) max. 47.7


    Adelaide Airport (Australia) max. 45.8


    Port Lincoln Airport (Australia) max. 48.3


    Port Augusta (Australia) max. 49.5


    Clare (Australia) max. 44.9


    Snowtown (Australia) max. 47.3


    Parafield (Australia) max. 47.7


    Edinburgh (Australia) max. 47.5


    Roseworthy (Australia) max. 48.3


    Nuriootpa (Australia) max. 46


    Kuitpo (Australia) max. 44


    Strathalbyn (Australia) max. 46.7


    Deniliquin (Australia) max. 47.2


    Swan Hill (Australia) max. 47.5


    Kerang (Australia) max. 47


    Kyabram (Australia) max. 47.1


    Sale (Australia) max. 45.5


    Young (Australia) max. 43.5


    Pointe des Trois-Bassins (Reunion Islands, France) max. 37


    Cilaos (Reunion Islands, France) max. 31.2


    Gobabis (Namibia) max. 41.7


    Santiago (Chile) max. 38.3


    Santiago Airport (Chile) max. 39.3


    Tobalaba (Chile) max. 37.4

    Record low temperatures in 2019

    Rockford (Illinois, US) min. -35


    Moline (Illinois, US) min. -36.1

    Mathematical models predict that in a stable climate, the number of hot and cold records should be equal, and new records occur less frequently over time.

    In 2018, 430 stations worldwide saw all-time high temperatures and 40 saw all-time lows. Despite what many in the US are experiencing now, this ratio is as clear a sign as any that the planet is getting hotter.

    This story was updated on 1 February

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