Brazil has experienced its hottest temperature on record, reaching a scorching 44.8 degrees Celsius (112.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The town of Araçuaí, located in the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais, bore the brunt of this extreme heat on Sunday, signaling the peak of a stifling heatwave gripping parts of the country.
Attributed to the El Niño phenomenon and the broader impact of climate change, meteorologists predict a slight relief in the soaring temperatures later this week. According to the National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet), only three state capitals are expected to approach 40 degrees Celsius amid this heatwave.
This new record surpasses the previous high of 44.7 degrees Celsius recorded in 2005. Red alerts have been issued nationwide, a month ahead of the southern hemisphere’s summer commencement. The surge in temperatures has driven Brazil’s energy consumption to unprecedented levels as citizens strive to cope with the oppressive heat.
The extreme conditions had ripple effects beyond the weather, leading to the cancellation of a Taylor Swift concert in Rio de Janeiro. Tragically, a fan, 23-year-old Ana Clara Benevides Machado, fell ill and passed away at the stadium after seeking assistance and being subsequently transferred to a hospital.
Recent research highlights that Brazil has experienced above-average temperatures from July to October, contributing to the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events globally. Scientists underscore that human-induced climate change, marked by the release of greenhouse gases, is a key driver behind the intensification of heatwaves.
As the Earth enters an El Niño weather phase, characterized by elevated global temperatures, experts warn that the trend of longer and more intense heatwaves is likely to persist unless decisive action is taken to address climate change.