“North America is in the grip of a polar vortex, bringing freezing weather from North Dakota to Ohio. The cold snap has prompted predictably icy comments from climate change deniers. But the global picture tells a different story.
“So far, no weather stations have recorded all-time cold records in 2019 [this might change today] – which is unprecedented at this stage of the year, according to weather records compiler Maximiliano Herrera.
“In contrast, 33 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.”
“…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.”
“The deadly polar vortex wreaking havoc across the United States has left at least 12 people dead, including a college student who was found in the freezing cold on the campus of the University of Iowa…”
“The polar vortex came on the heels of major Winter Storm Jayden that dumped up to a foot of snow on the region over the weekend and was to blame for at least five deaths.
“Officials have warned that the freezing temperatures will only become more life-threatening overnight on Wednesday.
“Forecasters advised against breathing deeply or talking while outside and warned that frostbite and hypothermia issues could occur within seconds.”
“The lowest temperature in the UK for seven years was recorded on Thursday as snowy and icy weather continued to hit Britain.
“Residents of Braemar in north-east Scotland were shivering in a temperature of -14.4C, the Met Office said – the lowest temperature in the UK since 2012 when it reached -15.6C at Holbeach, Lincolnshire.”
“Canberra has sweltered through its hottest January on record, in a month that has also seen ferocious storms strike the capital along with impressive displays of nighttime lightning.
“The city has also beaten the record for the most days above 40 degrees in a year, with five already recorded. The previous record of four days in a year was set in 1939 and equalled in the record-breaking heatwave earlier in January.”
“January 2019 is shaping up to be one of the driest on record for Toowoomba and the Darling Downs [SE Queensland, Australia].
“Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Vinord Anand said southern Queensland (which takes in Toowoomba, the Darling Downs, eastern Maranoa and Warrego and parts of the Central Highlands and Coalfields) had one of its lowest rainfall totals since records began.”
“North Queensland residents are on high alert for more flooding with up to 500mm [20 inches] of rain predicted to fall – including 200mm in just six hours – as a monsoon trough continues to cause chaos across the already drenched region.
“The severe weather system has already dumped more than 750mm [30 inches] of rain in parts, with homes inundated and cars washed away in Bluewater just north of Townsville yesterday.”
“Northland [New Zealand] in January had its lowest recorded rainfall for the month since 1947, and the regional council is urging residents to cut back on water usage.
“Water gauges from Doubtless Bay to Whangarei recorded between 5mm to 10mm of rain, 75mm below the January average. The dry spell doesn’t look like it will come to an end soon…”
“Hanmer Forest in north Canterbury has hit a record-breaking 38.4degC.
“NIWA posted on Twitter that the area had hit the wildly hot temperature on Thursday – the warmest it’s been since records began in 1906. NIWA says it’s also New Zealand’s fourth-equal highest temperature for January on record…”
“It’s official: The torrential rain that devastated parts of Kauai in April last year now holds the new national record for the most rainfall in a 24-hour period… The National Climate Extremes Committee validated the initial rain gauge data indicating that the area received 49.69 inches of rain in the 24-hour period between April 14 and April 15.
“The amount breaks the previous record of 43 inches in Alvin, Texas in July 1979.”
“A gigantic cavity two-thirds the area of Manhattan and almost 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall has been found growing at the bottom of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.
“About the size of Florida, Thwaites Glacier is currently responsible for approximately 4 percent of global sea level rise. It holds enough ice to raise the world ocean a little over 2 feet (65 centimeters) and backstops neighboring glaciers that would raise sea levels an additional 8 feet (2.4 meters) if all the ice were lost.”