An Argentine research base in the Antarctic Peninsula set a new heat record in 2015, hitting an unprecedented 17.5° Celsius (63.5° Fahrenheit). This was one of many temperature records that the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported in a recently published report. The group of experts from the announced that their latest batch of data does also confirm an increase in temperature in Antarctica.
Based in Geneva, the WMO has been recording the temperature fluctuations in Antarctica for quite some time, as they continue their efforts to expand their database on global climate conditions. They hope that their observations will help make more precise meteorological and environmental predictions in the future, as the WMO’s Randall Cerveny explains:
“This investigation highlights the need to continually monitor all of the Antarctic Region and ensure that we have the best possible data for climate change analysis at both the regional and global scales.”
Antarctica is one of the fastest warming regions of the planet, with the Peninsula recording a 3°C increase over the past 50 years. This news comes as to no real surprise to most scientists. The warming of the Antarctic continent is known to have caused major ice loss and decreased glacier size over the last 50 years, with a marked increase in that trend over the past 12. Just recently, a 5,000 km2 piece of ice threatened to break loose from the Larsen C Ice Shelf, one of several calvings that have affected the Antarctic ice levels over the past two decades.
The temperature increase in Antarctica was recorded independently by several research station, all of which have experienced the same influx of warm air and elevated temperatures. Antarctica holds 90% of the world’s fresh water, a number that could see a sea level rise of over 60 meters should it melt into the surrounding oceans. With a gradual level of sea rise already detected, the new temperature spikes recorded by the World Meteorological Organization certainly put the situation in Antarctica in perspective, as scientists strive to get climate action underway in order to stop the devastating effects of climate change.