Antarctica hits record temperature of 18.3 degrees Celsius, UN confirms report
Antarctica logged temperatures up to 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.9 degrees Fahrenheit), a new maximum temperature record for the region, on February 6 earlier this year, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (UN WMO) has confirmed. With this, Antarctica has now become one of the fastest-warming regions in the world -- registering a rise of almost three degrees Celsius in the last 50 years, WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas said on Thursday.
According to the UN agency, the high temperatures in Antarctica are a result of a large high-pressure system creating "fohn conditions", which are downslope winds creating significant surface warming. This, in turn, resulted in local warming both at the Esperanza station and at Seymour Island. Past scenarios such as this had also produced conditions conducive for similar record temperatures, an official release stated.
The earlier record temperature for the Antarctic continent, according to the WMO, was 17.5 degrees Celsius (63.5 degrees Fahrenheit) -- recorded on March 24, 2015, at the Esperanza Research Station. The new record of 18.3 degrees Celsius, established earlier this year, was also logged at the same station in Argentina, according to a press release issued by the UN agency.
"The Antarctic Peninsula is among the fastest-warming regions of the planet, almost 3°C over the last 50 years. This new temperature record is therefore consistent with the climate change we are observing. WMO is working in partnership with the Antarctic Treaty System to help conserve this pristine continent," said Professor Taalas.
The record was established after an extensive review conducted by the WMO's Weather and Climate Extremes Archive on the weather situation in the Antarctica peninsula. It, however, debunked reports suggesting that the Antarctic region crossed 20.7 degrees Celsius (69.3 degrees Fahrenheit) on February 9 last year.
The committee also examined the two observations' instrumental setups. The examination of the data and metadata of the Esperanza station observation, operated by Argentina's national meteorological service (Servicio Meteorologico Nacional, SMN) revealed no major concerns.
(With inputs from ANI)