Scientists have recorded a new record temperature of 20.75°C for Antarctica. It is the first time in the history of recording temperatures on the continent that the mercury has risen above 20°C, experts said. However, Brazilian researcher Carlos Schaefer said the reading at a monitoring station on Seymour Island currently ‘has no meaning in terms of a climate-change trend,’ because it is a one-off temperature and not part of a long-term data set for that location.
But news that the icy continent is now recording temperatures in the relatively balmy 20s is likely to further fuel fears about the warming of the planet. Last week, the UN World Meteorological Organisation said temperatures there had risen by nearly 3°C over the last 50 years. During the same time period, 87 per cent of the west coast glaciers have retreated. They were speaking out after temperatures hit 18.3°C saying that was ‘not a figure you would normally associate with Antarctica, even in the summer time.’
The WMO says glaciers have been melting at an ‘accelerated’ pace over the past 12 years due to global warming, prompting fears for the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This would cause global sea levels to rise by at least three metres, putting coastal towns and cities in danger. Ms Nullis added: ‘The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017. ‘The melting from these glaciers, you know, means we are in big trouble when it comes to sea level rise.’