Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Antarctica Breaks 69°F for the First Time on Record

Climate
Seymour Island with icebergs in front of it in the Antarctic Sound. On Feb. 9 scientists measured a temperature of 69.35 on the island. Richard McManus / Moment / Getty Images

The Antarctic region just recorded a temperature higher than 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time.


Brazilian scientists measured a temperature of 20.75 degrees Celsius (approximately 69.35 degrees Fahrenheit) on Seymour Island Feb. 9, one of the researchers told AFP Thursday.

"We'd never seen a temperature this high in Antarctica," Brazilian scientist Carlos Schaefer told AFP.

The record was broken three days after the Antarctic continent recorded its highest temperature to date at a balmy 18.3 degrees Celsius (approximately 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit). That measure was taken at Argentina's Esperanza station on the Antarctic peninsula that extends north towards South America.

The Brazilian reading was taken on one of the islands that extends off that peninsula, according to BBC News. It breaks the previous record for the entire Antarctic region, defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as all the land and ice south of 60 degrees. The previous record for the region of 19.8 degrees Celsius (approximately 67.6 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded in 1982 on Signy Island.

Schaefer was careful to point out that the temperature reading was not part of a larger study and so could not be used as evidence of a climate trend.

"We can't use this to anticipate climatic changes in the future. It's a data point," he told AFP. "It's simply a signal that something different is happening in that area."

However, Antarctica as a whole has warmed by almost three degrees Celsius over the past 50 years, according to WMO data reported by BBC News. During that time, about 87 percent of the glaciers on its western coast have retreated. The region also just recorded its warmest January on record.

Schaefer works as part of Brazil's Terrantar project that studies 23 sites in Antarctica. Temperatures on the peninsula, the South Shetland Islands and the James Ross archipelago cooled during the first decade of the 21st century, and then began to rise quickly, he told The Guardian.

"We are seeing the warming trend in many of the sites we are monitoring, but we have never seen anything like this," he said.

The peninsula and its surrounding islands have been the areas of Antarctica most impacted by the climate crisis so far, which means they might indicate how the rest of the region will react.

"It is important to have sentinel areas like the South Shetlands and the Antarctic peninsula because they can anticipate the developments that will happen in the future, the near future," Schaefer told The Guardian.

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 take centuries, however. In the nearer term, scientists predict 30 to 110 centimeters (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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

More than 1,000 people were told to evacuate their homes when a wildfire ignited in the foothills west of Denver Monday, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Read More Show Less

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. mixetto / E+ / Getty Images

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. New research has found that 5.4 million Americans were dropped from their insurance between February and May of this year. In that three-month stretch more Americans lost their coverage than have lost coverage in any entire year, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Heat waves are most dangerous for older people and those with health problems. Global Jet / Flickr / CC by 2.0

On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they're outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.

Read More Show Less
Nearly 250 U.S. oil and gas companies are expected to file for bankruptcy by the end of next year. Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Fracking companies are going bankrupt at a rapid pace, often with taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives, leaving harm for communities, taxpayers, and workers, the New York Time reports.

Read More Show Less
Trump introduces EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an event to announce changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Jan. 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The changes would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A report scheduled for release later Tuesday by Congress' non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the Trump administration undervalues the costs of the climate crisis in order to push deregulation and rollbacks of environmental protections, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, voiced support for safe reopening measures. www.vperemen.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA

By Kristen Fischer

It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Critics charge the legislation induces poor communities to sell off their water rights. Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.

Read More Show Less