It’s ferociously cold in pockets of North America and Asia and relatively mild in the summery Southern Hemisphere. This map tells you as much.
But that blazing patch of red that separates the Indian and Pacific Oceans is an anomaly, choked by the hottest December weather anywhere on Earth.
That’s because Australia is baking under a blistering heat wave. On Thursday, temperatures averaged 105.6 degrees Fahrenheit across the continent.
Some areas saw the heat climb even higher: In Port Augusta, in south Australia, temperatures peaked at 121 degrees – the hottest December temperature recorded of any country.
It’s summer in December in Australia, so warmer weather is fairly common this time of year. But it’s never this hot, and never for so long.
Why is it still so hot in Australia?
It’s fairly simple: The weather pattern brought a massive heatwave to Australia and spared South America and Africa.
Australia’s under a high-pressure heat dome, trapping sunny and hot conditions while keeping out cold fronts and rain from moving in. The country’s Southern Hemisphere counterparts are enjoying average weather conditions with more seasonal temperatures.
The map above also shows the temperatures for midnight Eastern Time – in Australia, that’s peak daytime heat. Africa and South America experienced cooler morning and overnight temperatures, which makes Australia stick out even more.