Antarctica hits new record high temperature of 17.5C

Then, you find out that it was basically the same frickin' temperature in Antarctica and the planet is screwed.

When WMO experts looked at just the continent itself (the area including the continent and its nearby islands), they found that the warmest temperature - a positively balmy 63.5 degrees F - happened on March 24, 2015, at the Argentine Esperanza Base research station, located by the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The highest temperature for the Antarctica Region (all land and ice south of 60 degrees south) of 19.8C was observed on 30 January 1982 on Signy Island. "As with all WMO evaluations, the extremes are identified based on only those events with available high-quality ground-based data".

Looking for a break from chilly winter weather?

The WMO also measures record high temps, pressure, precipitation, wind and other variables to track the climate as it changes over time. The work by the World Meteorological Organization referenced above should help to provide a means of interpreting new temperature data in the region though.

"There was so much [meltwater] that even a large section of the snow road we take every day collapsed, forcing us to use helicopters to commute between the research station and the airfield", Greenbaum said.

In fact, the frozen continent's masses of ice, which are three miles thick in places, would raise sea levels by about 200ft if they turned to water.

Another Antarctic expert, Eric Steig, said that "these temperatures are very likely associated with the extremely strong sea ice loss". Collecting more data from this region and elsewhere on the continent will be a focus of the worldwide Year of Polar Prediction, set to begin later in 2017.

"The Antarctic and the Arctic are poorly covered in terms of weather observations and forecasts, even though both play an important role in driving climate and ocean patterns and in sea level rise". Its enormous ice sheet is about 4.8 km (3 miles) thick and contains 90 percent of the world's fresh water, enough to raise sea levels by around 60 meters (200 feet) if it were all to melt.

The verification of the Antarctic extremes helps increase understanding about the Antarctic's climate, Victoria University Professor James Renwick said in a statement.

  • Tracy Ferguson