Antarctica Breaks Its Hottest Recorded Temperature
T-shirt weather in Antarctica? The continent just measured its hottest temperature on record at a balmy nearly 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
The reading was taken by Argentina's National Meteorological Service at the country's Esperanza research station, AFP reported. The thermometer climbed to 18.3 degrees Celsius (approximately 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit) around noon on Thursday, beating Antarctica's previous record, set in 2015, by 0.8 degrees Celsius.
"The reading is impressive as it's only five years since the previous record was set and this is almost one degree centigrade higher," Victoria University of Wellington climate scientist James Renwick, who has verified previous Antarctic records for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), told The Guardian. "It's a sign of the warming that has been happening there that's much faster than the global average."
#Antártida | Nuevo récord de temperaturas 🌡️ Este mediodía la Base #Esperanza registró un nuevo récord histórico (… https://t.co/YEtw4VDNmq— SMN Argentina (@SMN Argentina)1581006329.0
The Esperanza station is located on the Antarctic peninsula that juts out towards South America. Heating at a rate of around three degrees Celsius over the past 50 years, the peninsula is one of the fastest warming places on Earth.
Australian National University climate scientist Nerilie Abram, who has worked on the peninsula's James Ross Island, told The Guardian that it sometimes gets warm enough to wear a t-shirt.
"It's an area that's warming very quickly," she said.
The Esperanza station boasts one of the longest-running temperature records on all of Antarctica, dating back to 1961. Renwick said the reading would have to be verified, but that the station was generally trustworthy. He also said the particular high reading was probably a combination of the climate crisis and local weather patterns, as strong northwestern winds blow down the mountains, bringing warmer temperatures.
Argentina also reported another record breaking temperature Thursday at its Marambio base, also on the peninsula, which saw its hottest February day since 1971. That base reached a temperature of 14.1 degrees Celsius (approximately 57.4 degrees Fahrenheit), breaking its Feb. 24, 2013 record of 13.8 degrees Celsius (approximately 56.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
La Base #Marambio también registró la temperatura más alta para un de mes de febrero desde 1971. Alcanzó 14,1°C y s… https://t.co/Rjgt7TZ4p9— SMN Argentina (@SMN Argentina)1581006331.0
The previous record-high temperature for the Antarctic continent was also recorded at the Esperanza base, according to WMO. On March 24, 2015, the base reported a reading of 17.5 degrees Celsius (approximately 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit).
"To have a new record set that quickly is surprising but who knows how long that will last?" Renwick told The Guardian. "Possibly not that long at all."
The news comes as the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service declared this past January the warmest January on record.
📢 January #temperature highlights from #Copernicus #C3S: 🌡️In Europe, last month was the warmest January in our re… https://t.co/WKA63iHUr4— Copernicus ECMWF (@Copernicus ECMWF)1580832566.0
Parts of Antarctica were among the regions that saw temperatures "much above average" for the month, the service said.
This was also the fourth January in a row in which the service recorded a below average sea ice extent in Antarctica. At 4.6 million kilometers squared (approximately 1.8 million square miles), it was around 17 percent below the 1981 to 2010 average.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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