Tom Nelson 
July 25, 2010
The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in more than half the country due to cold weather.
Most of the areas affected are in the south, where temperatures regularly drop below zero centigrade at this time of year.
However, this time temperatures have dropped to as low as -24C.
This week Peru’s capital, Lima, recorded its lowest temperatures in 46 years at 8C, and the emergency measures apply to several of its outlying districts.
In Peru’s hot and humid Amazon region, temperatures dropped as low as 9C. The jungle region has recorded five cold spells this year.
Hundreds of people – nearly half of them very young children – have died of cold-related diseases, such as pneumonia, in Peru’s mountainous south where temperatures can plummet at night to -20C.
A cold snap complete with historically low winter temperatures has blanketed countries such as Bolivia, Uruguay and Chile. More than 40 deaths have been reported as temperatures that normally hover in the 20 Celsius range have plunged to freezing.
Weather extremes were named by climate change scientists several years ago as one consequence of the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Even without scientific warnings, the rash of natural disasters and unusual weather patterns we’ve seen over the last few years would strike me as eerie.