Winter Extremes Grip Global Regions

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Record-Breaking Cold: Beijing’s Chilled December, Scandinavian Freeze, and Cyclone Alvaro’s Impact on Madagascar Mark Unusual Start to 2024

Danielle Holender

Beijing Weather News Snow
Beijing has faced its coldest December since records began in 1951, with temperatures plunging below -10°C due to a cold wave sweeping across China. The capital experienced over 300 consecutive hours of freezing temperatures, marking the longest such period for December in the last 72 years. This extreme weather led to the closure of schools and businesses, causing travel disruptions and increased heating demands. Although temperatures have risen slightly in the new year, Beijing remains cold, with maximum temperatures hovering just above freezing.
Scandinavia has also witnessed a severe cold spell, with temperatures dropping to -40°C in some areas. Sweden recorded its coldest January temperature in over two decades, reaching -43.6°C. Snowstorms disrupted travel, particularly in southern Sweden, where around 1,000 vehicles were trapped by heavy snowfall, necessitating rescues. Meanwhile, the onset of 2024 saw the first cyclone, Tropical Storm Alvaro, make landfall on the west coast of southern Madagascar. The storm caused heavy rain, flooding, and significant damage, destroying houses, schools, power lines, and communication infrastructure.
Beyond China and Scandinavia, other regions experienced extreme weather fluctuations. Northern Japan saw a considerable amount of snowfall, with alerts issued for heavy snowfall in some areas. South Korea faced a drastic temperature swing, ranging from 16°C to below -12°C. The cause of these extreme weather events is debated among scientists, with a possible link to a weakening Polar Vortex, allowing cold air to move farther south. The global impacts of climate change continue to raise questions regarding its role in shaping such weather patterns.

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