Antarctica Reaches 65 Degrees for First Time

Station's reading beats 5-year-old record
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2020 4:05 PM CST
Antarctica Reaches 65 Degrees for First Time
A 2017 photo shows sea ice on the ocean surrounding Antarctica during an expedition to the Ross Sea.   (Ted Scambos/National Snow and Ice Data Center via AP)

Antarctica's peninsula is warming faster than nearly anyplace else on the planet, and a researcher said it's sometimes pleasant enough to go outside in a T-shirt. That's the case now. A research station at Esperanza, on the peninsula's northern edge, has recorded a temperature of 18.3C—64.94F. That's the highest temperature ever recorded on the continent. The outpost began keeping records in 1961, the Guardian reports. Antarctica's previous record was17.5C, reached in March 2015. A climate scientist found the jump of nearly a degree in only five years to be significant. "It's a sign of the warming that has been happening there that’s much faster than the global average," he said.

Thursday's high has not yet been confirmed by World Meteorological Organization, per CNBC, but the group said it appears to be legitimate. The glaciers on the west coast of the peninsula have been melting at a faster clip over the past dozen years as the planet was warmed; about 87% of those glaciers have disappeared in the past 50 years. January was Earth's warmest on record. (More climate change stories.)

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