Antarctica had a record weekend, with temperatures reaching nearly 10 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of the continent.
It might not look like a tropical vacation – indeed, it doesn’t even quite reach melting ice levels – but given that those same Antarctic areas are usually around negative 60 degrees at this time of year, I would say that is worrying.
More than The Washington Post:
Vostok, a Russian meteorological observatory, is about 808 miles from the South Pole and 11,444 feet above sea level. It is famous for maintaining the lowest temperature ever observed on Earth: minus 128.6 degrees (minus 89.2 Celsius), established on July 21, 1983.
Temperatures at least 50 degrees (32 degrees Celsius) above normal extended over large portions of eastern Antarctica, from the Adelie Coast to much of the interior of the Eastern Ice Sheet. Some computer model simulations and commentssuggest temperatures have even soared to 90 degrees (50 degrees Celsius) above normal in a few areas.
Such a high temperature is particularly noteworthy since March marks the start of autumn in Antarctica, rather than January, when there is more sunshine. At this time of year, Antarctica loses about 25 minutes of sunshine per day.
Certainly, the visibility of climate change at the Earth’s poles is much more pronounced than it is in the daily life of the average person, even in vulnerable areas. But the extremes at the poles will indeed reverberate and affect the rest of the planet. Because that’s how climate change works when you all live on the same planet that you choke to death by burning dinosaur bones!
It’s 70 degrees warmer than normal in East Antarctica. Scientists are amazed. [Jason Samenow and Kasha Patel / Washington Post]
Image: Liam Quinn/Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)