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Antarctica records hottest temperature ever, amid rising concern over melting ice sheets


A research base in the Antarctic has recorded the hottest temperature ever for the continent amid rising concern about global warming that has caused an increase in the melting of ice sheets around the south pole.

The Esperanza base on the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula recorded a temperature of 18.3 degrees Celsius, the highest on record, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said.

“This is not a figure you would normally associate with Antarctica even in the summertime,” WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis told reporters in Geneva.

“This beat the former record of 17.5°C, which was set back in 2015,” Ms Nullis added.

“The Antarctic peninsula is among the fastest warming regions of the planet.

“We hear a lot about the Arctic, but this particular part of the Antarctic peninsula is warming very quickly.”

“Over the past 50 years it’s warmed almost three degrees Celsius.”

The temperature was recorded at the Argentine base last Thursday.

The nearby Marambio base reported another record temperature of 14.1 degrees on Thursday, the hottest day there for February since 1971.

The WMO’s committee that draws on the agency’s weather and climate archives is now expected to verify whether the Esperanza reading would amount to a new record.

The record in the wider Antarctic region is 19.8°C in January, 1982.

Some 87 per cent of glaciers along the west coast of the peninsula have retreated over that 50-year span, with most showing an accelerated retreat over the last 12 years, WMO said.

Scientists believe global warming has caused so much melting at the south pole that the giant ice sheet is now on course to disintegrate.

This would see an eventual global sea level rise of at least three metres over centuries.

“The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017,” Ms Nullis added, citing images showing cracks in glaciers in Antarctica.

“The melting from these glaciers, you know, means we are in big trouble when it comes to sea level rise.”

A study published last year showed that the rate of ice melting in Antarctica had almost tripled over the previous five years, which is expected to affect the well-being of species such as humpback whales, emperor penguins and fur seals.

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Environmentalist, Futurist, Lightworker, Wannabe naturalist. The way we are treating our world and environment is not going to end well! We need to change course NOW.

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