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It Was Warm Enough In Antarctica To Wear A T-Shirt

by : Cameron Frew on : 07 Feb 2020 18:18
It Was Warm Enough In Antarctica To Wear A T-ShirtIt Was Warm Enough In Antarctica To Wear A T-ShirtPA Images

Antarctica: the polar-white continent of ice caps. Not many people have ventured there – but yesterday, thanks to climate change, you could have visited in just a t-shirt. 

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If you were to ask your everyday person to describe Antarctica, a few things would probably come up: snow, ice, penguins, more snow and more ice.

However, one thing people don’t associate with the seventh continent is heat, and yesterday you could have been catching some sweet rays (although the looming onslaught of climate change is to blame).

Antarctica recorded its warmest-ever temperature yesterday, February 6, reaching a high of 18.3°C at Esperanza, beating the former record of 17.5°C on March 2015, according to Argentina’s national meteorological service (SMN).

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Randall Cerveny, the World Meteorological Organisation’s weather and climate extremes rapporteur, said: 

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.

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. Verification of this maximum temperature record is important because it helps us to build up a picture of the weather and climate in one of Earth’s final frontiers.

A WMO press release explained ‘the record for the Antarctic region – that is, everywhere south of 60 degrees latitude – is 19.8°C, taken on Signy Island in January 1982’.

ANTARCTICA warmANTARCTICA warmPA Images

Almost all of the Antarctic peninsula’s glaciers are melting, struggling under the heat of one of the fastest-warming places on Earth (it has increased by almost 3°C over the past 50 years, alarming scientists to the rapid rate of climate change).

Professor James Renwick, a climate scientist at Victoria University of Wellington, told The Guardian:

The reading is impressive as it’s only five years since the previous record was set and this is almost 1°C higher. It’s a sign of the warming that has been happening there that’s much faster than the global average. To have a new record set that quickly is surprising but who knows how long that will last? Possibly not that long at all.

At roughly twice the size of Australia, the average annual temperature of the continent ranges from about −10°C on the Antarctic coast to −60°C at the highest parts of the interior.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Antarctic, Antarctica, Climate Change, Environment, Global Warming, temperature

Credits

World Meteorological Organisation and 1 other
  1. World Meteorological Organisation

    New record for Antarctic continent reported

  2. The Guardian

    Antarctica logs hottest temperature on record with a reading of 18.3C