While the northern hemisphere bakes, burns and floods, climate extremes of a different sort are striking far to the south. It’s deep winter in Peru now, and the southern part of the country has just experienced a record snowfall that has brought activity to a halt, killed tens of thousands of cattle and at least four people. This type of climate extreme is becoming more common, especially as reduced solar output causes cooling while increasing greenhouse gases cause more heat to build up in areas where the sun is strongest.

This means that the hemisphere pointing toward the sun is going to have unstable summer weather and possible record breaking heat, while the hemisphere pointing away from it will experience much deeper than normal winter cold. This happens because the fall-off in the amount of solar energy reaching the surface is much more significant when a hemisphere is angled away from the sun in winter than when it is facing the sun directly in summer.

Thus the northern hemisphere should expect a deep, hard winter while the southern hemisphere will go from a brutal winter to an equally extreme summer next year.

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