Antarctica temperature hits record 20C

Cheryl Sanders
February 14, 2020

It follows another recent temperature record: on 6 February an Argentinian research station at Esperanza measured 18.3C, which was the highest reading on the continental Antarctic peninsula.

This is the first time the temperature on the continent has exceeded 20 degrees C (68 F), the researchers told news site AFP.com, but not the first time the continent has seen a new record-breaking high this month.

The Antarctic has registered a temperature of more than 20C (68F) for the first time in history, prompting fears of climate instability in the world's greatest repository of ice.

The previous high was in the 19s, he said.


The penguin-tormenting high temperature was recorded at 1 p.m. on February 9 by Brazilian scientists on Seymour Island, where it is now the summer season for the Southern Hemisphere.

The new record should not be directly conflated with climate change, which should be understood as a long-term trend rather than a one-off data point. It has been recording Antarctic temperatures since 1961.

Scientists on the Brazilian Antarctic programme said: "We have climatic changes in the atmosphere, which is closely related to changes in permafrost and the ocean".

Scientists at Terrantar, a government project that monitors climate change on the continent, said the record temperatures are most likely attributed to changes in ocean currents. "It's simply a signal that something different is happening in that area". The peninsula has warmed significantly over the past half century - nearly 5.4 degrees (3 C), according to the World Meteorological Organization.


Over the past 12 years the glaciers have shown an "accelerated retreat" due to global warming, it adds.

Last July, the Arctic region hit its own record temperature of 21C, logged by a base at the northern tip of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic.

And they beat January 2016 - the hottest January since records began in 1880 - by a narrow 0.04F.


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