Environment

Antarctica hits its hottest temperature on record

Antarctica hits its hottest te...
Paradise Bay on the Antarctic peninsula, which is one of the fastest warming regions on the planet
Paradise Bay on the Antarctic peninsula, which is one of the fastest warming regions on the planet
View 1 Image
Paradise Bay on the Antarctic peninsula, which is one of the fastest warming regions on the planet
1/1
Paradise Bay on the Antarctic peninsula, which is one of the fastest warming regions on the planet

Climate scientists continue to uncover the extent of the warming trend enveloping the planet, and few parts of the world are feeling the heat more than the Antarctic peninsula. Scientists at an Argentinian research base on its northern tip have seen the mercury reach a relatively warm 18.3° C (65.5° F), a record high for the entire Antarctic continent.

Having increased in average temperature by nearly 3° C (5.4° F) over the last half century, the Antarctic peninsula is among the fastest warming regions of the world and its landscapes are changing as a result. Some 87 percent of the glaciers along its western edge have retreated over the same time frame, with the majority of those doing so at an accelerated rate over the past 12 years.

In March of 2015, scientists at Argentina’s Esperanza research base logged a temperature of 17.5° C (63.5° F), a new record at the time. Argentina’s national meteorological service (SMN) is now reporting a temperature of almost a full degree warmer at 18.3° C, which the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is now working to verify.

“Everything we have seen thus far indicates a likely legitimate record but we will of course begin a formal evaluation of the record once we have full data from SMN and on the meteorological conditions surrounding the event,” says WMO’s Weather and Climate Extremes rapporteur, Randall Cerveny. "The record appears to be likely associated (in the short term) with what we call a regional "foehn" event over the area: a rapid warming of air coming down a slope/mountain.”

The Antarctic ice sheet, which measures 4.8 km (3 mi) thick and covers an area around twice the size of Australia, is losing mass at an accelerated rate. The annual ice loss from the sheet increased six-fold between 1979 and 2017, driven by melting ice shelves as they interact with warmer ocean water beneath the surface.

While the temperature is a new record for the Antarctic continent, one of the coldest, windiest and driest places on the planet, the temperature record for the Antarctic region, which is everywhere south of 60 degrees latitude, remains at 19.8° C (67.6° F), recorded at Signy Island in 1982.

Source: World Meteorological Organization

7 comments
Malcolm Jacks
Has anyone thought that a 1050 years plus depletion of the earths oil and gas alone is causing global warming? The depletion of oil and gas which for millions of years has acted as a lubricant to the earths mantle acted in preventing the mantle from causing friction, without that lubricant the earths mantle is now causing that friction, which in-turn creates heat. and also that friction causes more earth quacks and eruptions. Both of these syndromes have been noticeable increase lately especially in the antarctic and arctic regions with temperatures the highest on record.
Charles Yeomans
On record probably means the last 150 years As we know it was much warmer before. When the vikings got to Greenland they called it that as it was lush and green.
bwana4swahili
The antarctic and arctic regions once were covered in thick foliage and all sorts of fauna. We're heading back to this scenario; Earth's natural cycle of cooling / warming, ice ages / interstitial periods. Adapt or die has always been nature's way!
Ichabod Ebenezer
@Charles Yeomans, Greenland was originally called Gruntland, meaning Land of Shallow Bays, or something to that effect, and was translated by someone who knew more German than Norwegian. It was never lush and green. Face the fact that the Earth is getting warmer, and whatever the cause, it is having drastic effects. We know we can cool it by reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Isn't that a good thing? Don't we want to live?
christopher
@Ichabod Ebenezer - you are wrong. There is no feasible way that humankind can make any noticeable impact on CO2 - go look at the scale of the problem: it's so huge, the numbers are incomprehensible. 625 exajoules. do you even know what the prefix "exa" *means*?. Now add on growth - of energy use, as well as population. NOTHING we could ever feasibly do is going to make any measurable positive difference. WAKE UP.
Gregg Eshelman
As usual, using temperature sensors on the furthest north spot on the continent as a proxy for the entire continent, which lies almost entirely within the Antarctic circle.
ljaques
Couldn't have =anything= to do with the 91 new volcanoes discovered there recently, could it? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/12/scientists-discover-91-volcanos-antarctica