Antarctic temperature rises above 20C for first time on record

Elias Hubbard
February 14, 2020

In a disturbing revelation, a new record temperature has been recorded in Antarctica at a whopping 20.75 degrees Celsius, breaking the 20-degree record for the first time ever.

"We are seeing the warming trend in numerous sites we are monitoring, but we have never seen anything like this", said Carlos Schaefer, who works on Terrantar, a Brazilian government project that monitors the impact of climate change on permafrost and biology at 23 sites in the Antarctic.

He cautioned that the reading, taken at a monitoring station on an island off the continent's northern tip on Feb 9, "has no meaning in terms of a climate-change trend", because it is a one-off temperature and not part of a long-term data set.

But news that the icy continent is now recording temperatures in the relatively balmy 20s is likely to further fuel fears about the warming of the planet.

The reading had been taken as a part of a research project which is 20 years old and is on the climate change's impact on the permafrost of the area.

Brazilian scientists recorded 20.75C at Seymour Island on February 8, The Guardian reported.

Across much of Russian Federation and parts of Scandinavia and eastern Canada, temperatures were nine degrees above average or higher.

This record temperature came just about a week after the hottest day was recorded for Argentine Antarctica at 18.3 degrees Celsius at midday at the Esperanza base, which is situated near the Antarctic peninsula tip.

The previous record for the entire Antarctic region - which includes the continent, islands and ocean that are in the Antarctic climatic zone - was 19.8C, logged in January 1982. "It's a data point", he said.

The previous record stood at 17.5 degrees on March 24, 2015, it said.

The Antarctic peninsula is being dramatically affected by climate change, with more melt and warmer winter temperatures, believed to be behind an alarming decline in chinstrap penguin colonies which are dependent on sea ice, The Guardian reported.

Last month was also Antarctica's warmest January on record.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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