A new record set so soon after the previous record of 17.5C in March 2015 is a sign warming in Antarctica is happening much faster than global average
Antarctica has logged its hottest temperature on record, with an Argentinian research station thermometer reading 18.3C, beating the previous record by 0.8C.
The reading, taken at Esperanza on the northern tip of the continent’s peninsula, beats Antarctica’s previous record of 17.5C, set in March 2015.
A tweet from Argentina’s meteorological agency on Friday revealed the record. The station’s data goes back to 1961.
Antarctica’s peninsula – the area that points towards South America – is one of the fastest warming places on earth, heating by almost 3C over the past 50 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Almost all the region’s glaciers are melting.
The Esperanza reading breaks the record for the Antarctic continent. The record for the Antarctic region – that is, everywhere south of 60 degrees latitude – is 19.8C, taken on Signy Island in January 1982.
Prof James Renwick, a climate scientist at Victoria University of Wellington, was a member of an ad-hoc World Meteorological Organization committee that has verified previous records in Antarctica.
He told Guardian Australia it was likely the committee would be reconvened to check the new Esperanza record.
He said: “Of course the record does need to be checked, but pending those checks, it’s a perfectly valid record and that [temperature] station is well maintained.”
“The reading is impressive as it’s only five years since the previous record was set and this is almost one degree centigrade 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.”
He said the temperature record at Esperanza was one of the longest-running on the whole continent.
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