Currently in Boston — February 17th, 2023

The weather, currently.

One more day of potential record warmth.

New record highs were set in Boston and Providence (and some other places) today. The Providence record of 71°F is quite impressive, as it broke the old record by a full 11 degrees. Unusually warm days, even in the middle of winter, are not a direct result of climate change, but our changing climate is making these types of days much more likely. In the coming years, we can expect fewer cold days and more unusually warm ones. We will trend back towards normal later Friday, but first, it will be very mild in the morning with readings getting near or above 60°F and perhaps setting a new record high once again. There will be some showers and a steadier rain in the evening before we clear on Saturday. It will be chilly Saturday morning, but by afternoon it's back near or even a little above 40°F.

Dave Epstein

What you need to know, currently.

La Niña is causing the multi-year drought in Central South America, according to a study released Thursday.

Climate change is, of course, also playing a role, as it’s worsening some of the dry spell’s impacts. However, the climate condition La Niña—or the cooling of the central Pacific waters, which results in changing weather patterns worldwide—has gone on longer than usual this time, and is exacerbating the drought.

Since 2019, the dry spell has been devastating the region. Last year was Central Argentina’s driest year since 1960; Uruguay declared an agricultural emergency in October; water supplies and transportation suffered; and vulnerable farmers and residents are facing the brunt of the climate disaster. The last four months of 2022 received only 44 percent of the average precipitation—the lowest rainfall in 35 years.

Water and heat stress is resulting in widespread crop failures across the region’s farm belts as well. For example, crop health in Argentina is reportedly the worst it’s been in 40 years, as it saw a 61 percent decrease in grain and oilseed revenue between January 2022 and January 2023.

It will likely take months, if not longer, for the region to recover, depending on El Niño’s arrival.

—Aarohi Sheth

What you can do, currently.

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