Antarctica, Earth’s coldest continent, may have just set an incredible unusual weather record. According to reports from Weather Underground, an Argentinian meteorological station on the Antarctic Peninsula recorded a remarkably high temperature of 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit on March 24.
If the data is verified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), it would become the highest temperature on record for Antarctica.
The recordings at the Esperanza research station came 24 hours later an almost identical high temperature was signaled by another Argentinean base, called Base Marambio, which also lays on the Antarctic Peninsula. The warm conditions occurred surprisingly during the Antarctic fall, not in the summer.
Both of these measurements are the warmest temperatures on record for Antarctica. The Esperanza high temperature exceeds any high temperature recording on either the Peninsula and also the Antarctic landmass. Esperanza keeps track of temperature changes in the region since 1945.
The World Meteorological Organization in Geneva is the official arbiter of global temperature records. WMO still states that the temperature record in Antarctica was 59 degrees Fahrenheit and was set at the Vanda Station on Jan. 5, 1974.
For the high temperature to be admitted as a record for Antarctica, the WMO would have to verify that the equipment was fully functional, an evaluation which could take months. There are also other criteria to consider, such as the definition of continental Antarctica itself.
For example, the WMO could consider only observations made south of the Antarctic Circle for Antarctic temperature records. Esperanza is located outside the Circle. However, if the WMO will take into consideration readings from the landmass of Antarctica, the Esperanza temperature would become the new record for high temperatures on Earth’s coldest continent.
The Antarctic Peninsula has the fastest warming pace in Antarctica. Ocean and land temperatures are hastily increasing and melting glaciers observed in recent years. Average temperatures there are raising at about twice the global average, according to most studies.
A research published on Thursday found that the loss rate of Antarctic ice shelves, which is a buffer zone for inland glaciers and prevents them from rapidly descending into the sea, has accelerated by 70% in the last 10 years.
Faced with this new data, climate scientists will have to raise their global sea level rise projections. Antarctica is not the only cold place on Earth which is getting warmer, the Greenland ice sheet also lost a huge amount of its mass in recent years.
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