Antarctic Temperature Rises Above 20°C For First Time On Record

by : Emily Brown on : 13 Feb 2020 18:24
Antarctic Temperature Rises Above 20°C For First Time On RecordPA Images

The Antarctic has registered temperatures above 20 degrees Celsuis for the first time in recorded history. 

The warm temperature was logged by Brazilian scientists on February 9 at Seymour Island, one of 16 major islands around the tip of the Graham Land on the Antarctic Peninsula.


Scientists recorded a temperature of 20.75°C; almost a full degree higher than the previous record of 19.8°C, taken on Signy Island in January 1982.

The recent, apparently record-breaking temperature will need to be confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization, but it is in line with rising temperatures occurring across the peninsula and nearby islands.

Earlier this month, an Argentinian research station at Esperanza measured 18.3°C – the highest reading on the continental Antarctic peninsula.


The new record has been described as ‘incredible and abnormal’ by scientists responsible for collecting the data from remote monitoring stations, The Guardian reports.

Carlos Schaefer, who works on Terrantar, a Brazilian government project which monitors the impact of climate change on permafrost and biology at 23 sites in the Antarctic, said:

We are seeing the warming trend in many of the sites we are monitoring, but we have never seen anything like this.


Schaefer explained the temperatures have been erratic over the past 20 years in the peninsula, the South Shetland Islands and the James Ross archipelago, which Seymour is part of.


The changing temperatures are thought to have been influenced by shifts in ocean currents and El Niño events – when the surface waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean become significantly warmer than usual.

Scientists explain:


We have climatic changes in the atmosphere, which is closely related to changes in permafrost and the ocean. The whole thing is very interrelated.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg shared the concerning recordings on Twitter, raising awareness by simply writing:

20,7°C on Seymour Island off Antarctica…


The ‘abnormal’ temperatures are a concerning indication of global climate change.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Antarctica, Climate Change


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Antarctic temperature rises above 20C for first time on record