Much of the Northern Hemisphere is in the grip of arctic air and record snowfalls that have been inflicting hardship and havoc from China to Russia to Western Europe and over to the American Plains.
Meanwhile, the Southern Hemisphere has been experiencing a warmer than average summer.
Planetwide, the weather has become remarkably unpredictable.
There are few precedents for the global sweep of extreme cold and ice that has killed dozens in India, paralyzed life in Beijing and threatened the Florida orange crop. Chicagoans are taking shelter from a potentially deadly freeze, Paris is enduring sunny Siberian cold and Poland has counted at least 13 deaths in record low temperatures of about 13 degrees below zero. A string of deadly avalanches in northern Italy's Alps led to seven deaths.
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