Published: Fri, March 03, 2017
Science | By Boyd Webster

Antarctica Reaches Record High Temperatures

Antarctica Reaches Record High Temperatures

And as the record temperatures the WMO just announced are "the absolute limit" to what has been measured in Antarctica, the findings prove highly important. The new record high was set at an Argentine research base (Experanza) near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula, where temperatures climbed as high as 63.5° Fahrenheit (17.5° Celsius) on the day in question.

The previous record for the broader Antarctic region (anywhere south of 60 degrees latitude) was 67.6 degrees Fahrenheit, set on January 30 of 1982 on Signy Island in the South Atlantic, according to Reuters.

Mapping Antarctica's extremes is essential for understanding weather patterns, and teasing out natural climate variability from human-induced climate change, the WMO said in a statement. "As with all WMO evaluations, the extremes are identified based on only those events with available high-quality ground-based data". These winds are found even here in the United States, particularly along the front range of the Rockies.

But Antarctica's forbidding climate poses a challenge for even the hardiest observers and the most advanced technology.

These high temperatures are a large departure from the continent's lowest recorded temperature of minus-128.6 degrees F at Vostok Station on July 21, 1983, the WMO said. The work by the World Meteorological Organization referenced above should help to provide a means of interpreting new temperature data in the region though.

Experts are divided on whether all of Larsen C will eventually break off from the mainland, and what consequences that could set in motion.

The temperature increase in Antarctica was recorded independently by several research station, all of which have experienced the same influx of warm air and elevated temperatures. With a gradual level of sea rise already detected, the new temperature spikes recorded by the World Meteorological Organization certainly put the situation in Antarctica in perspective, as scientists strive to get climate action underway in order to stop the devastating effects of climate change. Collecting more data from this region and elsewhere on the continent will be a focus of the global Year of Polar Prediction, set to begin later in 2017.

This causes sea levels to rise and has an impact on everything from global temperatures to ocean currents.

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