The death of a Taylor Swift fan during her recent concert in Rio de Janeiro comes during a brutal heatwave that has hit parts of Brazil.
Brazil’s National Institute of Meteorology has warned of “great danger” this weekend as a ridge of high pressure remains parked over the region that includes the city where Swift schedules weekend shows . Temperatures in Rio climbed as high as 93 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, according to Weather Underground.
The city reported a record-breaking heat index, or “felt” temperature of 138 F, on Friday, according to MetSul Meteorologia. The effects of Friday’s heat caused some fans attending Swift’s concert to faint and forced the postponement of subsequent concerts.
Brazil’s scorching temperatures, which have persisted for about a week, have set a series of monthly and historical temperature records, according to meteorological historian Maximiliano Herrera.
The ridges of high pressure causing the extreme temperatures were similar to those that bogged down the United States this summer, when places like Phoenix recorded temperatures above 110 F for more than three weeks straight. Climate change increases the risk of heat waves and can make them more intense.
The World Weather Attribution Network analyzed a heatwave in South America in September and found that climate change had significantly increased the chances of such a heatwave. The group found that temperatures would have been 2.5 to 7.7 F colder if humans had not warmed the Earth by consuming fossil fuels and emitting carbon pollution.
The World Weather Attribution group studies extreme weather and publishes rapid findings on the role of climate change in major events using peer-reviewed methods.
The past 12 months have been the hottest in modern history, according to the nonprofit Climate Central. Scientists believe the effects of El Niño, a natural climate phenomenon that releases heat from the oceans into the atmosphere, have begun to be felt and contributed to a rise in temperatures.
In Brazil, El Niño typically brought drought to the north of the country and extreme rains to the south, the Associated Press reported. Drought in the Amazon has dried up rivers this season and fires have raged in some of the country’s tropical wetlands.
Many Brazilian households lack technology to air condition their homes. About 20% of households nationwide had air conditioning in 2018, according to a Nature Communications study.
Swift postponed a show scheduled for Saturday in Rio de Janeiro and took the stage Monday.
The incident left an impression on prominent voices in the climate community.
“Today would be a good day for Taylor to say a few words to her millions of fans about the risks of life on a rapidly warming planet and why we need to stop burning fossil fuels,” said Jeff Goodell, l author of the book on climate change. book “The heat will kill you first,” wrote on X.
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