Antarctica registers record temperature of 20.75 degrees

Yvonne O'Halloran

Brazilian scientists recorded the highest temperature on record this month in the Antarctic- They registered a worrying temperature of 20.75C (69.35F) on Seymour Island on February 9th- a full degree higher than the previous record of 19.8C taken on Signy Island in January 1982.

The scientists who collected the data described the new record as “incredible and abnormal”. The record was broken three days after the Antarctic continent recorded its highest temperature to date at 18.3C (or 64.9F) . “We’d never seen a temperature this high in Antarctica,” Brazilian scientist Carlos Schaefer told AFP.

He cautioned that the reading, taken at a monitoring station on an island off the continent’s northern tip on February 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. The records will need to be confirmed by the World Meterological Organization, but are consistent with the nearby islands which have warmed by almost 3C since the pre-industrial era. But news that the icy continent is now recording temperatures in the relatively balmy 20s will likely to further fuel fears about the warming of the planet.

Antarctica has warmed by almost 3 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years according to WMO data that was reported to BBC News. If all of the ice in Antarctica were to melt, it would cause 50 to 60 meters (approximately 164 to 197 feet) of sea level rise. This would likely take centuries, however. In the shorter term, scientists predict 30 to 110 centimetres (approximately 12 to 43 inches) of sea level rise by 2100, depending on how successfully greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and how the ice reacts.


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