On the 9th of February 2020, just four days following an earlier Antarctic temperature record of 18.3C taken by Argentine research base Esperanza, a monitoring station on Seymour Island, part of a chain of islands off the same peninsula, at the northernmost point of the continent, recorded 20.75C.
Brazilian scientist Carlos Schaefer told AFP they had “never seen a temperature this high in Antarctica”. But he then stated the temperature, logged on 9th February, was just one reading and is not part of any data set.
“We can’t use this to anticipate climatic changes in the future. It’s a data point,” he said. “It’s simply a signal that something different is happening in that area.”
Temperature in the Antarctic as been continually monitored in that region since 1967. According to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula have risen by almost 3C over the past 50 years, and that about 87% of the glaciers along its west coast have “retreated” in that time.
Over the past 12 years, the glaciers have shown an “accelerated retreat”, it adds.
Last month was also Antarctica’s warmest January on record.
Animation of T850 in °C (temperature at 850hPa) showing this heat wave over the Antarctic Peninsula. This will be followed tomorrow by an interesting foehn event according to GFS. https://t.co/IbZ2KFKuxM pic.twitter.com/J195ZAw1lY
— Xavier Fettweis (@xavierfettweis) February 7, 2020