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Antarctica sets record high temperature

Posted at 8:58 PM, Feb 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 17:34:34-05

Typically known for its brutally cold temperatures and large ice sheets, one part of Antarctica was anything but on February 6, 2020.

"We had a high temperature there of 65°F. That's an all-time record for the continent of Antarctica," says Dr. Randy Cerveny, a professor of Geographical Sciences at Arizona State.

He also serves as the "Weather and Climate Extremes" rapporteur for the World Meteorological Organization. Essentially, he's an expert in verifying new global records for pressure, wind, and temperature.

"I put together a panel of international experts. We go over the data and determine if the observation was legitimate. Then if it is, we have a new record," he stated.

The area in question sits on the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula, which is home to the Argentine research base "Esperanza."

The previous record of 63.5 F occurred at the same location less than five years ago. Cerveny expects records like this to become more frequent in Antarctica and worldwide, which he finds worrisome.

"The temperatures that we have seen change within the last 30 to 40 years have been unlike anything we have seen in the last 5,000 years," said Cerveny.

If the warming trend in Antarctica and globally goes on at this rate, expect to see continued melting ice sheets and glaciers, sea level rise, and more extreme weather events for Cerveny and his panel to verify.

Dr. Cerveny along with the panel from the WMO will make an official ruling on the temperature within the next six to nine months.