One of 2023’s most extreme heat waves is happening in the middle of winter

Temperatures in parts of Chile and northern Argentina have soared to 10°C–20°C above average over the last few days. Towns in the Andes mountains have reached 38°C or more, while Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, saw temperatures above 30°C—breaking its previous August record by more than 5°C. Temperatures peaked at 39°C in the town of Rivadavia.

In terms of deviation from temperatures you might expect at a certain place and time of year, this heat wave is comparable to, if not greater than, the recent heat waves in southern Europe, the US and China. In Vicuña, one of the towns in the Chilean Andes that recently reached 38°C, a typical August day might be 18°C or so—just imagine it being a whole 20°C warmer than normal wherever you are now.